Sunday, June 26, 2011

Week in Review: 19-25 June, and Dreaded Druid Hills 10K Race Report

Another triple-digit week, like this:

19 June - 4 miles from Arjun's place back to my house (30 minutes), another 3 miles before church (25 minutes), 8 miles around John Carroll School after church (60 minutes), and 10 more miles (70 minutes) in the Canton/Fells/Harbor area at night.

20 June - 5 miles (35 minutes) at APG, nothing very exciting.

21 June - 5 miles (45 minutes) at APG, including a 30-minute treadmill hill session (1366 feet of climb)

22 June - 13 miles (90 minutes) at APG - hot

23 June - 7 miles (60 minutes) at APG, including a 30-minute treadmill hill session (1569 feet of climb), another 5 miles (35 minutes) in Canton/Fells

24 June - 20 miles (140 minutes) at APG - sorta hot

25 June - 6 miles from home to Druid Hill Park (45 minutes), 1 mile warmup (10 minutes), Dreaded Druid Hills 10K in just under 40 minutes (39:58), 1 mile warmdown (10 minutes), 6 miles from Druid Hill Park back home (45 minutes)

Total Time: 740 minutes

Total Distance: 100 miles

Pretty "standard" week, with nothing terribly exciting to report, except that I'm gradually building distance and speed, and feeling pretty good doing it.

And now, a short summary of the Dreaded Druid Hills 10K:

Dreaded Druid Hills has been a race that I've wanted to run for a while now, but circumstances never seemed to permit it. Not that I was exactly tapered and ready for the race this year, but considering how hard I've been hill-training lately, and how many miles I'm trying to run each week, I figured that this would be a good opportunity to see what good (if any) all of that hill training has done.

On a bet, I wore my Nike Mayflys, which I realized was a bad idea about a mile from my house, when I could feel the hot spots forming under my arches. Sure enough, by the time I got to Druid Hill Park, I had two giant blisters. I decided that popping them was the best course of action (and by "best," I mean "least uncomfortable"), but it was still not particularly fun to run on them (and now they're a little bit bloody under the arches).

The race started, and I took off with the lead pack, running fast and feeling fine, until about three-quarters of a mile in, when I suddenly felt all of those miles in my legs (especially the 20-miler that I ran the day before the race). People started passing me. I did my best to do better than I usually do in hanging on in this situation, consoling myself with the possibility that I might be a better climber than these other runners, and end up passing them later.

As it turned out, this assessment was partially founded. Somewhere around 3 miles, the tide began to turn, as the course got hillier, and those that had gone out fast at the start were now paying for it. I caught three people on the hills, and at some point in the low-30-minute range, I started to pick up speed as the course started to flatten.

Unfortunately, I also saw a number of people who were ahead of me coming from a different direction - turns out that one of the course marshalls had mis-directed some of the runners, so perhaps I didn't get a fair shot at chasing the runners in front of me. Nevertheless, I did catch one more runner on the flat section near the finish (too bad it wasn't one more, because on some level, losing to a shirtless guy wearing jam-length boxer-style shorts is pretty disappointing), and snuck in just under 40 minutes (39:58). Supposedly, the correct and incorrect courses were about the same distance, and since the mis-direction was the fault of the race staff, nobody was penalized or disqualified for running the incorrect course.

In any case, I finished 13th overall, and, as I ran the entire 10K, including ridiculous hills, at around my pace for the Boston Marathon this past spring, I'll declare it some sort of fitness victory (particularly as the middle segment of a 20-mile run).

Finally, a word (or several) on the Western States 100, as I was glued to my phone/computer for most of Saturday, watching it unfold. First off, congrats to everybody who finished (especially Kilian Jornet, the winner, and Dave Snipes, in the first race of the 2011 Grand Slam of Ultrarunning - 3 more to go!), and all due respect to those who ended up dropping, for making it as far as they did. Second (and related to dropping), in arguably the deepest, biggest-name field at the race, there were some big-name drops (Geoff Roes and Hal Koerner, both previous winners, and Dave James, come to mind), and it got me thinking . . .

Having dropped from a couple of 100-mile races this past fall (described in excruciating detail on this blog), I can understand what it feels like to drop, and why somebody (especially a typically fast somebody) might drop. Ultrarunning is a sport full of contradictions, and one that's particularly applicable here is the idea that what you don't know tends to hurt you less. That is, the better-conceived your idea of how the race should go, the less-prepared you are for unexpected circumstances. Things that complicate this dilemma are having run a race before, and, in particular, having performed exceptionally well in a previous year's running of the race. The best way to enter any ultra is to be physically well-trained for any and all conditions, and mentally flexible enough to deal with any and all conditions. A previous win or course-record-setting performance makes the latter extremely difficult. The experience becomes a part of you, and a "building block" of your concept of yourself as a successful runner, so when things stop fitting that script, pulling yourself together becomes even more difficult.

In light of all that, I feel as though I'm in a good place mentally for Badwater. Last year's performance there was good, but not as good as I would have liked, so there are areas where I can easily improve, and I can focus on success in those areas as the race progresses. At the same time, because in some ways, last year's race is a bit of a blur in my mind now, I have no pre-conceived notion of how any part of the race should feel, other than "hot" and "maybe difficult."

Over the next couple of weeks, as the miles pile up, I plan to be focusing heavily on strategies to break through the mental walls that might hamper my performance. If any of them prove to be particularly interesting or insightful beyond the above, perhaps I'll post about them here.

Monday, June 20, 2011


For anybody who's posted a comment on this blog at any point since its inception: Somehow, I've managed to read maybe four or five out of, well, more than four or five total comments on this blog. This is mainly because once I post something, I've already read it over a few times before posting it, and I don't plan on reading it again in the near future.

So if you felt ignored, I suppose you were, but not intentionally, and at any rate, I apologize. I think I'll turn e-mail notifications on, or something silly like that, so that I won't miss any more comments. And at random times in the near future, I'll read through the old comments, and respond in whatever way makes sense at the time (which may not make sense in the original context of the post, but hopefully will be amusing nonetheless).

Now, back to life . . .

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week in Review: 12-18 June 2011, and Anatomy of a 100-Mile Week a 100-Mile Week

Deep breath; here goes . . .

Sunday: 6 miles (45 minutes) Canton/Fells, early p.m., then 11 miles (75 minutes) fast-ish around Harbor East

Monday: 6 miles (45 minutes) at APG, hot car ride home, 11 more miles (80 minutes) out to the Fed Hill Run and back (but not with the Fed Hill run, since my timing was so far off . . .)

Tuesday: 5 miles at APG; 4 of those on the treadmill (hill program - 1438 feet of vertical in 35 minutes, plus another 10 minutes warmup/warmdown); hot car ride home, then 10 more around Patterson Park and such (70 minutes)

Wednesday: 1 very slow mile that wasn't very fun (10 minutes)

Thursday: 7 miles at APG; 20 minutes warmup/warmdown, plus another 35 minutes on the treadmill (hill program - 1459 feet of vertical), hot car ride, then 10 more from the Falls Road Running Store with fast people (65 minutes) after Baltimore 10-Miler packet pickup

Friday: 15 miles in the morning, around the Inner Harbor, up Fed Hill, and all that business (105 minutes)

Saturday: 6 miles to the start of the Baltimore 10-Miler, along Monument Street (45 minutes), Baltimore 10-Miler in 1:09:40 (pacing the 1:10 group with Keith McBride), then 6 miles home, carrying my silly Fila vest down Madison Avenue (45 minutes)

Total Time: 755 minutes

Total Distance: 102 miles

Normally, this is the part of the blog entry where I write my race report, but (without any disrespect to the Baltimore 10-Miler), the race wasn't a particularly epic experience (which is not to say that it wasn't fun, only that it wasn't a struggle to the finish that would make for a compelling read). But in short, the last two miles are difficult, but not a surprise, since you run them (downhill) on the way out, there were cold, wet towels and watermelon at the finish, two beer tickets for every runner (many of which were being diverted to a few runners trying to collect as many beer tickets as possible), and a band that opened their set with that Ramones song "Blitzkrieg Bop" and didn't bother to censor the lyrics. (Nobody seemed to be paying enough attention to care.) I had a lot of miles on my legs coming in, so I was a little worried about the uphill finish, and that, combined with most of the mile markers in the first half of the race being wrong, led to a first half that was slightly faster than pace, but it all worked out in the end. And, Fila "running vest."

Because that was a crummy race summary, I'm going to leave you with something a little more substantial: the anatomy of a 100-mile week. I may not speak for everybody else when I say this, but in a typical 100-mile week, accumulating mileage at a steady rate throughout the week (as opposed to running very little on some days, and "binging" on other days, particularly with long races), the thought process ends up being something like this:

Day 1 - 15 miles total - Wow, that was a solid day.

Day 2 - 30 miles total - Another great day; almost a third of the way there!

Day 3 - 45 miles total - Um . . . 3 days and I'm not even halfway there?

Day 4 - 60 miles total - Another day, and barely over halfway . . . this is distressing.

Day 5 - 75 miles total - Seriously, when does progress happen? 5 days, and 3/4ths of the way there?

Day 6 - 90 miles total - Okay, wow, that snuck up on me; now I'm almost at 100. And I only have to run 10 miles tomorrow!

Day 7 - 100 (or 105, or something) miles total - I did it! I feel great! And now . . . do it again next week?!?!?!?! Then again, on second thought, it doesn't sound quite so bad now . . .

Given the mind game involved in reaching 100 miles in a week, you may be wondering how anybody can deal with it, week after week. As it turns out (and as I type this, I already have 25 miles in for this coming week, in one day), it gets easier and easier the more frequently you do it. After a while, your body gets used to being in motion that often, and the mileage becomes strangely comforting. Once you find yourself running in the moment, and not thinking about your weekly total, you can fully submit to the task; you accept that, at any given moment of any day, you might be on your feet and running - through sunrise, sunset, rain, wind, sleet, snow, jeers, catcalls, noise, silence . . . and in this submission, there is a profound peace. (For me, anyway.)

And along those lines, given than running a lot of volume is a strategy for success, optimizing the payoff for the volume becomes a concern. After all, in order to run fast, you need to run fast. ;)

This is where an insight from an unlikely source has been guiding my training lately. A couple of weeks ago, when I was called for jury duty, in the excessive wait time, I was reading a book called "On Studying Singing" by Sergius Kagen (a faculty member at Julliard). The author makes a number of interesting points that seem strangely applicable to running, but one in particular stood out to me. Kagen claims (in slightly different words) that there is a certain element of futility in teaching somebody to sing better, because the actual skill cannot be taught directly. Instead, teachers must come up with metaphors and visualization tricks as guides to help students improve technique. These teaching methods act on the conscious mind, but this is only to steer the unconscious mind (which does all of the actual work) in the right direction.

In a way, running a lot of miles has this effect. Physiologically, yes, it strengthens the body, but subconsciously, it strengthens the mental faculties that enable a person to run quickly and efficiently. As usual, these variables are confounded, but I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that both aspects of running are equally important, and developing them in tandem has a synergistic effect on performance, yet most people focus only on the physical aspect of the sport. Most likely, most people have a fair amount of untapped potential as a result of this myopic view.

Or, you know, I could just be making up a bunch of stuff to fill up space. But it seems to be working for me . . .

Monday, June 13, 2011

Week in Review: 5-11 June 2011

As I begin writing this, I actually have no idea how many miles I ran last week. So let's find out . . .

Sunday, 5 June: Bel Air Town Run, 3.1 miles, 25 minutes, 17 seconds (we went over this last week)
Monday, 6 June: 5 miles (40 minutes), through the usual Canton-area haunts
Tuesday, 7 June: 7 miles (55 minutes), again, around Canton, Fells, and all that bit
Wednesday, 8 June: 9 miles (70 minutes), Canton, Fells, whatever
Thursday, 9 June: 12 miles (90 minutes), Canton, Fells, Mount Vernon - woah!
Friday, 10 June: 4 miles of treadmill hills (~1300 feet of climb in 35 minutes), 7 miles through Canton, Fells, and whatever (55 minutes)
Saturday, 11 June: 6 easy miles on trails at Loch Raven (60 minutes)

Total Time: 420 minutes
Total Distance: 53 miles

In short, another crap-tacular week mileage-wise, after my Saturday adventure at Old Dominion. Then again, counting Old Dominion through the following Friday, that's 147 miles in 7 days, which is probably the most mileage I've ever done in a 7-day period, with the exception of Badwater week last year, when I hit somewhere around 155. (And, considering that I ran Badwater in about 34.5 hours, I reached a similar mileage in about 10 less hours, so at any rate, more miles faster than ever before.)

All that said, though, I need to get back in a better routine of posting high mileage during the week as a result of putting in solid mileage every day (as opposed to what's been happening over the past few weeks, which has been more like a few ridiculously long runs, punctuated by ridiculous periods of inactivity. So far, so good this week - 32 miles in the past two days, and not a very slow 32 miles. I finally feel like I have my legs back under me, after what felt like about a month of malaise (unfortunately concentrated around MMT). With any luck, I'll put in a solid next few weeks, at around 100 miles per week, and be in great shape for Badwater.

In conclusion, lately, people have been saying wacky things to me when I've been out running around the city, which I think is because I've been out running around without a shirt on, and the weather is nice enough for other people to be out at the same time. This makes putting in huge mileage a lot more entertaining. (Today's entertainment: a girl who was out running with some guy who may or may not have been her boyfriend/fiancee/husband, after I passed them in front of the Science Center, repeatedly imploring the boy to take his shirt off, presumably inspired by my example. He didn't oblige.) If anything really super-funny happens, I'll post about it on Facebook, so you don't have to read through a bunch of junk here to get to it!

Okay, one more thing - sometime this week, I'm going to post about inspiration for running that came from an unlikely source. If I remember. If you care, remind me to write about this!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fear and Laziness

While my memories of a race are usually freshest within 24 hours of the event (hence the updates like clockwork), my reflections on the experience are usually deepest a few days afterwards. And in some cases, they don't really sink in until years later. This is one of those . . .

When I was doing my "massive" two-week buildup for Rocky Raccoon in 2009 (which, after a weak attempt at a 30+ mile run, consisted of a 20-mile long run, and 800-meter intervals every other day), I was cooling down in Mount Vernon (Baltimore) after one of my silly 800-meter interval sessions when I saw, spray-painted on the side of a truck: "The only things preventing anybody from doing anything are fear and laziness.". At the time, this seemed insightful enough, especially given the undertrained effort I was about to put forth at Rocky Raccoon (which was still good enough for a sub-19-hour finish, and top 10 overall).

But after my Old Dominion 100-Mile/Bel Air Town Run double this past weekend, the words don't sit the same way in my mind. To do the double was weird, no doubt, but on a more basic level, it was scary. These were both important races to me, and I needed to run strong in both to be satisfied with my effort. Who knows what could have happened that could have derailed this effort?

At the same time, those thoughts are thoughts that are rooted in fear and laziness. Obviously fear, but indirectly laziness, too. Because really, fear and laziness aren't all that distant. We are often afraid of things because we're too lazy to prepare properly to face them. And we are often too "lazy" to prepare properly to face things because we are afraid of what putting out the proper effort might involve.

In a way, what I did this past weekend, and what ultrarunning is at its core, is only possible by conquering fear and laziness. To be successful as an ultrarunner, you have to build more than just muscles and capillaries and cardiac efficiency. You have to also build willpower, determination, self-sufficiency, and, above all, the vaguely romantic sense of awe and wonder at the thought of spending hours and hours running on rocky trails through the woods, and hot, shadeless roads, to find out how it feels, to find out what will happen, to find out if you could. Fear and laziness are the enemy.

In that spirit, I went running earlier tonight, to see if I could, and managed a little over four miles, at a little over 8-minute mile pace. And it was good. Fear and laziness? Not here - they're on a different sort of run.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Week in Review: 29 May-4 June, and Old Dominion 100-Mile Endurance Run and Bel Air Town Run 5K Report

Same ol' drill; first the miles, then the race report:

29 May - 1 mile (10 minutes)
30 May - 10 miles (75 minutes), around the Harbor - hot.
31 May - 9 miles - 6 in the morning, another 3 in the afternoon, including a 15-minute treadmill hill session. (95 minutes)
1 June - 8 miles, from O'Donnell Square (60 minutes)
2 June - 1 mile (10 minutes)
3 June - 1 mile (10 minutes)
4 June - 100 miles, Old Dominion 100-Mile Endurance Run, 19 hours, 14 minutes, 30 seconds

Total Time: 1415 minutes
Total Distance: 130 miles

Now, the race reports:

First, a little background. When I ran the Old Dominion 100-Mile Endurance Run back in 2008, I was able to run both Old Dominion and the Bel Air Town Run 5K because, in a relatively rare turn of events, the first Saturday in June and the first Sunday in June were not on the same weekend. Collin Anderson, who had put me up to Old Dominion in the first place, had said at the time (before I had checked to see if there was a conflict) that I should just run both races, thereby keeping my Bel Air Town Run streak alive. The more I thought about this, the more I thought I'd want to try it some year. This, apparently, was the right year.

First up, the Old Dominion 100-Mile Endurance Run. This was the first time that I'd run the same 100-mile race more than once. Despite knowing the course, I didn't know was how the race would turn out. As I mentioned in my last post, my training runs over the past couple of week have been shorter and more painful than I would like, which was either a sign that I needed some extended downtime, or that I had just hit a low point in my training cycle, and was on the road to recovery.

In any case, since I knew that the race would be stacked (70 entrants, up from about 40 in 2008, and the list being a bit of an ultrarunning who's who . . . of course, they don't post the entrants list online, so the best information that I had was through the grapevine:, my plan was to go out aggressively, but not totally kill myself, and hold on the best I could.

This plan worked very well for about the first 30 miles, as I was relatively comfortably leading the race. I was climbing well (I actually ran all the way up Woodstock Gap, without feeling over-exerted), attacking the downhills, and generally feeling strong. Then, nutrition caught up with me. Old Dominion is very old-school when it comes to aid stations, so most of the food, aside from bananas and oranges, was sugary-fatty (Snickers bars, cookies, etc.), and my poor digestive system couldn't handle that much fat, sitting there, most likely getting rancid. So I started slowing, from my relatively breakneck pace that put me through the first marathon in around 3:40 pace, and people started to catch me. First Neal Gorman and Eric Grossman (running together at the time), then a couple others, and before I knew it, I reached Four Points (around 32.5 miles) in fifth.

Over the long loop out from Four Points and back in, things got worse. It was starting to get hotter, and I had no desire to eat or drink, and my stomach was churning. I continued to press forward, but at a slower pace, jogging a lot less and walking a lot more. The end result was that I reached Four Points again, 15 miles later, probably looking okay on the outside, but barely hanging on on the inside.

Still, I remained patient, knowing that the dreaded exposed, rutted, ATV-ridden "ATV trail" was the next section of the course. I wasn't moving forward as well as I would have liked, but I kept moving forward, somehow in fourth place. It was somewhere along the ATV trail that Jeremy Pade passed me, relegating me to fifth place (spoiler: where I would remain for the rest of the race).

From then on, the rest of the race was less of a race than a war of attrition, which, in the end, most 100-mile runs turn out to be. I navigated the dreaded 11-mile Sherman's Gap/Veach Gap section in around 3 hours (starting a new tradition by shouting "911" from the top of Sherman's Gap), and kept a fairly steady (albeit slow) pace from there to the finish. My stomach never felt better enough, and my food never digested enough, for me to move much faster, which was a shame, because I still had legs left at the end, enough to run down Woodstock Gap into town (where a woman standing outside her house asked where I got my headlamp, because it was really bright, and then asked if she could have it for walking at night . . . bizarre.) As it turned out, Keith Knipling finished about 10 minutes behind me, which meant that he had been chasing me for the better part of the second half of the race, without my knowledge.

If all of the above sounds a little more mundane than usual, it was. Other than my stomach problems, I didn't have any problems with chafing, or blisters, or any of those other ultrarunning nuisances that can ruin a race. For me, Old Dominion was about continued forward progress, even as my pace slowed, and at this race, more than at any other, I successfully worked the "dogged persistence" angle. It helped to have a crew out there, because nobody wants to crew for somebody who's having a crummy race (and, on the flip side, people like to crew for somebody who's doing awesome), and it also helped that if I didn't finish the race in a timely fashion (i.e. before midnight, or sub-20-hours), it would be much more difficult to make the 3-hour drive back up to Bel Air for the Town Run in the morning.

The bottom line was that I finished in 19 hours, 14 minutes, and 30 seconds, which would have been good enough to win the race many years, but this year, was only good enough for fifth (the place that I can't seem to get above in ultras - I've also placed fifth twice at the Seneca Greenway 50K). I was pleased with my effort, but had my nutrition been a little better, up to two hours improvement in my finishing time seems plausible.

In any event, water under the bridge, because the Bel Air Town Run 5K (my 16th consecutive Bel Air Town Run) was at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, so I had about 8 hours after finishing my 100-mile run to get myself together for that. I can honestly say that I've never stood at the starting line of a race more afraid than I did at that run. I had no idea how my legs would respond. I walked around with my dad for about 15 minutes before the race to loosen up, and it was clear that I could walk, but this is the Bel Air Town RUN. As much as I wanted to keep my completion streak alive, I didn't want to have to resort to walking to do it, and I hadn't run a step since I finished Old Dominion, so there was no telling what would happen. My legs might just seize up, I might trip and fall and not finish the race.

For the first time ever, I started so far back that I couldn't hear the starting commands, so at a random gunshot, the pack lurched forward, and I began to desperately hope that I could keep up. So I took my first running steps, and - surprise! It hurt, but not as bad as I thought it would. Pretty soon, I was tucked in the crowd, running what would turn out to be about a 9-minute first mile. In fact, that first mile felt very cleansing. For the first time since things went south at Old Dominion, I was moving forward at a decent pace, without expending a lot of effort. It was, I imagine, the kind of pace I could have maintained at Old Dominion had my stomach not betrayed me.

Since the first mile felt okay, I started gradually picking up the pace, and came through the second mile in just over 17 minutes - an 8-minute mile. So I figured, why not? and ratcheted things up one more time, running the last mile at around 7-minute pace. It hurt, a little bit, but not much worse than it would have hurt had I been running on fresh legs at race pace. I crossed the line in 25:17 net (26:00 gun), which was a huge relief, since I was concerned that I would run over 30 minutes and be one of the last people staggering towards the finish. I stayed around for the post-race awards, and sadly, still did not win the bike, but nevertheless had the distinction of having bib number 999.

All in all, mission more than accomplished. While not optimal, I ran a strong race at Old Dominion, and I didn't run too badly at Bel Air. Provided that I recover quickly from this epic misadventure (which, at some point, will require having an appetite for some kind of nourishing food), this weekend's result indicates that I'm on track to do well at Badwater.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Week in Review: 22-28 May - Calm Before the Storm

For whatever reason, my recollection of the week that is the subject of this blog post is particularly fuzzy. Here's my best attempt at a re-construction:

22 May: 12 miles, in and around Patterson Park (100 minutes)
23 May: 8 miles, 3 of which were treadmill hill work (60 minutes)
24 May: 1 mile (10 minutes)
25 May: 6 miles, 3 of which were treadmill hill work (45 minutes)
26 May: 9 miles (70 minutes), in and around the Inner Harbor
27 May: 1 mile (10 minutes)
28 May: 20 miles, around the Inner Harbor, out to Homewood and back (155 minutes)

Total time: 450 minutes
Total distance: 56 miles

I sat on this post for a while, because I wasn't really sure what to think about this week of contradictions . . .

On the one hand, this was my lowest-volume week in quite a while. On the other hand, it included two of the highest-intensity treadmill workouts.

On the one hand, I had two nearly "off" days. On the other hand, I had my longest continuous road run (20 miles) since the Kentucky Derby Marathon at the end of April.

On the one hand, getting "up for the game" before and during every run seemed extremely difficult. On the other hand, afterwards, every run felt like no big deal.

On the one hand, nearly every mile seemed more painful and laborious than any of the miles I've run so far in 2011. On the other hand, the trend towards the end of the week was towards slightly less painful.

I think that my success so far this year is due at least in part to framing the effects of my training appropriately, and moving forward from that frame of reference. In less abstract words, I've been doing a better job this year figuring out exactly how spent I am from the training that I've done, and what level of training makes the most sense going forward. The context for this week is the most ambiguous yet, but here's my attempt to make sense of it:

MMT, as my first 100-mile race in a long time, was rougher on me than I thought. The physical and mental fatigue from the race were still lingering during this week, but I was recovering gradually nonetheless. The lower training volume was a natural consequence of the recovery process, but is not necessarily an indication that I'm "burned out" from the first half of the year, as evidenced by the fact that later in the week, I seemed to be running in less pain.

This weekend, the Old Dominion 100-Mile Run and the Bel Air Town Run 5K (a.k.a. my grand, ridiculous adventure) should be a much better indicator of whether or not that assessment is accurate. I won't make predictions here about how I think these will turn out, except to say that if I've assessed things correctly, the recovery process should be nearly complete by this weekend - just in time for another round. If not, well . . . it could be a long couple of days. But in either case, I'm excited about doing this classic-race double for the first time, and have no doubt that it will make for a far more memorable experience than this past training week.