Saturday, March 31, 2007

Black Saturday and Red Hot Sunday!

Big back to back runs deserve a level of respect so we decided to give them a name. In addition to having a name they also have a dress code. All black for Saturday and all red for Sunday. Saturday's are so tough they get a name, dress code and a logo. The skull and crossbones are appropriate because on "black Saturday" we do hill repeats. These are not wimpy hill repeats they are bad boys ranging anywhere from 30 minutes to 60 minutes of continues uphill running at threshold (95% of max.) in the Columbia River Gorge and.......there is always at least two!

There is no resting on the downhills either, you go as hard as you can without killing yourself. BS repeats make you very strong, in fact you have to be strong minded to even show up. It is just motivating to see all your friends dressed in black, running as hard as they can, huffing and puffing and loving every minute of it. These repeats are "go at your own pace" but we all go at threshold and that just yields different paces for each of us. At the top of the hill we are all within 5 minutes of each other so it's fun! After we are done with the hill repeats we do a cool down run for 2 hours or more depending on where we re in the training cycle. The cool down in no slouch run either but not even close to work load required to do the repeats.
Three years ago all of this fun began during my preparation for Western States. Fortunately for me my friends were open to giving this a try and they actually found it fun and challenging. We started dressing in all black because it made us feel tough and since the repeats were always done on Saturday Micheal came up with the name "Black Saturday" and it was so appropriate we have called it that every since. Not everyone who comes to BS does the specified workout but instead they come an enjoy the show...people dressed in black, breathing very hard, laughing and not taking themselves to seriously. Beast came today and took a ton of these pictures. Some others were doing other kinds of workouts specific to their upcoming events and couldn't join us for BS but they wore black anyway. :)

Today's workout was 4+ hours total with 2X30-40Min repeats followed by the cool down. We did the workout starting at the Herman Creek area and used the Gorton Creek trail to do the repeats. The Gorton Creek trail climbs approx. 2200 feet in 2.6 miles. Additional pictures from today can be seen at
Once BS is over we fuel up and ice bath to prepare for "Red Hot Sunday"! As you can see Micheal and I were the only ones that really took "Red Hot Sunday" seriously. Are those the worst outfits you have ever seen? Since we're in the Gorge where everything is green, grey and black these outfits really stood out, I wonder if the rest of the group was embarrassed because I know we were :). Why would we dress up like this? These outfits make us look like we are on fire....or at least that's what we are telling ourselves.....we were on fire. Back to backs to this degree bring out the grit in every runner. After 20 miles and 5500 feet of climbing and threshold hill repeats on Saturday, 5.5 hours and 7100 feet of climbing the next day requires an outfit that screams "fire"! Micheal and I decided that if any of the hikers asked, "what's with the outfits"? We would tell them we were a rescue team and if they needed any help we would send someone, ha, ha, ha. We got a lot of looks.

The run itself was hard and challenging on tired legs but we did a great job. Staying focused and pushing when all our muscles said enough was rewarding. That is exactly what these kinds of runs are for, making you run on tired legs, getting that neuromuscular system firing when all common sense says you can't. These kinds of runs are what make you strong and invinsible after mile 50 of a 100M race. We practice fueling, run/walk transitions and pushing hard on the climbs just to see if we have enough umffffffff to push anywhere near threshold. It's early in this phase of training and these are our first back to backs so even though we were breaking time splits today I imagine we will see even more upticks as we progress towards WS100M.

The rest of the group was doing 4.5 hours so they cut off before Micheal and I did leaving us with only ourselves and these really bad clothes. Oh well, it just motivated us to move faster so we could get done! Tom met us at the top of Angels Rest when we were at about mile 22 and ran in with us. We sat in parking lot an began the refueling process and started dreaming of our ice bath back home.

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