Mid Week Accountability Workout with ING’s Class of 2013 Hosts

RunEatRepeat.com’s Monica, RunLikeAClydesdale.com’s David, JenniferTurner.com’s Jen and I were selected as hosts of the ING Class of 2013. We were the host of the ING Class of 2012 but because of Hurricane Sandy the race was cancelled. I feel like we get to finish the job we set out to do last year.

What does that mean? Well if you are training for any full or half marathon the rest of this year you are part of the #INGClassof2013. ING has a Facebook page where motivational messages and training tips are posted daily

Remember “Like” us at ING Runner’s Nation on Facebook and check out their Twitter feed ING Runner’s Nation on Twitter

Well we know that it can be difficult for people training for their race so we had an idea of creating the Mid-Week Accountability Workout.

Here’s how it works. Each Monday a workout will be posted on the ING Runner’s Nation Facebook Page on SoCalRunning.com and other sites. Your job is to complete the workout by Thursday night then post a picture, data file, video or comment on the ING Runner’s Nation Facebook Page or Twitter Feed.

It is meant to keep you accountable and inspire other. Tell your running buddies to join in. Here’s the first workout:

midweek workout
Some guidelines for this week’s Accountability Workout:

1) This is not a competition.
2) Be safe – Whenever you increase intensity, you increase the chance for injury.
3) Listen to your body – Every run is unique. Do what is appropriate for you during that particular run.
4) Lighten up and smile while you are running. Enjoy the experience.

Experienced runners going for time goals: You should have a pretty good idea of your “Race Pace.” I’m personally working towards 8 min/mile pace. That will be my average pace goal for this one hour run. I’m going to run on some easy hills hopefully replicating miles 18-26 of the ING NYC Marathon course.

Beginner marathoners or runners without race time goals: Run at a pace you can sustain for one hour at a slightly uncomfortable pace. If you walk a lot during your usual training runs, slow down and see if you can run one hour without walking, but remember IT IS ALWAYS OK TO WALK.

When you finish your run, please share with the ING Runner’s Nation by posting a picture of your watch or of you running. You can also post a Garmin or MapMyRun file from your run. If you’re really into it, please share a video! Stay tuned to the ING Runner’s Nation Facebook page to share experiences and inspire each other!

Train Focused, Head Coach Steve Mackel – Sole Runners Marathon and Half Marathon Training Programs

Mt. San Gorgonio Trail Run / Hike via Vivian Creek 8-11-13

I’ve done my share of tough trail runs that turn into hikes at some point and I have done some cool backpacking trips that I wonder just how fast I could have moved if I wasn’t under such a heavy load. With all that said, the Vivian Creek Trail to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio is TOUGH.

I went into this thinking I can run 7 miles up Mt Baldy in under 2 hours without it being my top effort. I should be able to run / hike San Gorgonio at least at 3 miles per hour pace Making this a 6 hour trip. Once again mother nature bitch slapped me. The first mile took 21 minutes, without stopping, and that includes starting from the trailhead, so it all wasn’t straight up.

Once you cross the riverbed, it goes straight up. One of the toughest miles I have gone up. It took us 21 minutes and my calves were on fire. I knew then the day might be a little longer than I originally planned. With one or two minute stops to shoot some video the miles were averaging 22 minutes. When we reached the two hour mark we were at mile 5.2 and the day would get slower from there.

The altitude hit me around 9,500 feet of elevation. My heart rate would not lower and could hear my pulse. I figured it was better to slow down and play it safe. I live close to sea level. I was up there without any acclimation. By 10,000 feet the trail was getting steeper again and the next mile was difficult. In fact, Norma, a lady I met on the mountain, said it was the steepest part of the trail. I think the first mile is steeper but you are moving at 11,000 feet of elevation and the air is thinner. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and it was good enough to pass people.

The last 500 feet of elevation gain felt easier. Maybe I was getting used to the altitude but the trail did flatten a little. I tried to jog but my heart rate raced up again so I walked quickly to the summit.

It was a perfect day. The summit is know to be cold and windy. From what I read, people stay 10 – 15 minutes then head back down. When we got there and over the next 45 minutes 33 people ending up partying on the summit at 11,503 feet. One local said it was the most people she had ever seen up there at one time. We ate, took pictures with the San Gorgonio sign, walked around and enjoyed the view for almost an hour. Feeling refreshed we started to head back down.
Four hours up so we figured 3 hours down. We ran the runable sections. It quickly became a quad pounding experience. We felt bad because we would pass people take a break, they would catch us then we would pass them again, requiring them to move over and let us pass them again. After 2 miles down we limited out breaks and ran the next 5 miles.

We passed these two quick hikers then a mile later they were in front of us again. They had done this hike a few times and knew “legal shortcuts”. That one probably saved them a half mile. We followed them down the next one. It was probably the old trail and it did save us a little time but it was steep, no running.

With 2 miles to go our 3 hour guess was going to be fairly accurate. We were moving right around a 17 minute mile pace until we hit 1.5 to go. About here is where the trail gets extremely steep with loose rocks and a cliff on one side of the trail. This was the toughest mile for me because my toes were jamming into the front of my shoes, my legs felt like mile 26 of a marathon and the riverbed looked way down there. We moved as fast as we safely could. We could almost taste the beer that would be waiting for us at a Mexican restaurant down the road in Forest Falls.

We made it down in 3 hours and 6 minutes. Overall a fantastic day. It was great to do it some good friends, Paul and Henry. I was doing it as a training hike for my trip to Mt Whitney later the year. We had a beer and got home hours later than I expected but it was totally worth it,

Here are some take-aways: Always be prepared. The hike is a full 18 miles round trip with over 5,000 feet of climbing. Add at least 2 hours to what you think your fastest time would be. Climbing mountains is always harder than I think. I took 132 ounces of liquid and drank close to 100. I bought three layers of shirts and used two of them. Remember, it was perfect day. I used lots of sunscreen. I wish I had more “real” food like sandwiches and fruit. I came back with some trail trash but overall the trail was clean, thank you hikers. Mt Whitney here I come.

My Garmin data is below. I must have bumped the stop button on the way down so basically I only have the climb but that’s what matters. It has the elevation 400 feet lower than what it says on its own map. Go figure. Moving time just over 3 hours up, check “View Details” in the lower right corner of the Garmin data box below. I feel pretty good about that.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – In Training for Mt Whitney

The XTerra Snow Valley 21k 7-28-13 Race Review

I love all the Xterra races. I love to be out on a trail, in the mountains, by a lake, near a beach, in a desert, wherever they go. Just get me off road. I get recharged by nature. Plus, I love the athletes that participate in these races. They seem a little more hardcore but super friendly. The fields are smaller because I think many people are afraid tripping, spraining a ankle, running up and down big hills or just the unknown that road races don’t give you. In fact, I have been reading recent reviews of road races and Many people complain that some are too hilly and could the race director please do something about it. Not every race needs to be on a flat, fast course so you can get a personal record, (PR). Trail race are a great challenge.

The Snow Valley XTerra trail races take place in the San Bernadino Mountains. You start at an elevation of around 6,500 feet and it peaks out over 7,000 feet. There is a little altitude adjustment you have to deal with or maybe it’s just the 2.5 mile climb right out of the gate. Either way my heart rate was extremely high the entire race. I didn’t wear a heart rate monitor for this race because I knew it would be sliding out of place and I didn’t want the hassle.

The course is two 6 mile loops, with a 1k loop to start. It goes up for 2 miles. Most of this section is on a switchback, single track trail to get you to the first aid station and onto the fire road. The next 2 miles are rolling but not too steep. Then comes the downhill but they throw in a quarter mile uphill section just to torture you.

The race is very well organized. It started on time. I think you must carry water or sports drink on you in this race. The first aid station is over 2 tough miles from the start and on a warm, sunny day, I would have been bummed if I wasn’t wearing a Fuel Belt. The rest of the aid stations seemed well placed.

The medal is great. It is large, colorful and looks classy.

After the race the start the awards ceremony and you get a free lunch consisting of a burger, chips and drink (beer is extra) if you are a participant. Spectators can buy food.

You can drive up there on the morning of the race with on-site registration. The drive is about 1.75 hours from LA and OC. We choose to spend the night camping at the Snow Valley ski resort. it was fun to camp with many other racers but Snow Valley keeps a bunch of flood lights on which infringed on my stargazing.

The bottom line is that this is a well run, difficult race at altitude. They vibe is your typical low maintenance trail runner vibe. Everyone seemed friendly and cool. There are some hardcore athletes but very welcoming of all levels of racers. I would definitely participate in this race again.

My Garmin race data is below. Click “View Data” on the bottom right of the Garmin frame

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Trail Runner