Training for MMT

Leading up to the 18th of May has come with some intense weekends, early mornings, and late nights. I've been putting in a lot of training to finalize and get ready for my big 100 mile race at Massanutten.

I've been analyzing some of the data and putting together some cheat sheets to have to ultimately help my crew chief (aka wife) figure when and where I'll be at certain spots and to help me mentally prepare for it. For now though, I'll go over a few of the different training runs and adventures I've been on to get myself physically prepared.

Settlers Cabin Park and Rachel Carson Trail

Due to my work schedule, and trying to maintain a somewhat normal lifestyle, my training runs would often leave me staying close to Pittsburgh and utilizing the trails and parks close by. For a majority of my serious training runs, I'd utilize the rugged punchiness of the Rachel Carson trail. Certain sections of it offer some challenging climbs and descents on par with terrain in more mountainous sections of the state.

Those days out on the Rachel Carson would only happen on my long run days (Saturday). I still needed some trails to help me through the week. I work near a park that has a nice loop (Settlers Cabin Park). It takes me about 5-10 minutes to get there and back, so I could usually squeeze in 45 minutes of a run, or just stop there on my way home to get a bit more time on my feet.

One downside is Settlers Cabin is almost always muddy!

Races for Training

On my schedule for the spring were 2 races planned as long training runs. The first was the Bel Monte 50k in March. The race is 35 miles with 5000 feet of climbing and descending (all packed into 2 "hills"), and some views of the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains. I did well there even though I only took it as a training run.

My next race was the Breakneck Point Half Marathon in New York. I was geared up to race this one as hard as I could. I've only been to New York once before, and that was not close to where this race was. I had heard of this race previously and knew it would be more than running, but I did not realize the extent of hands-and-feet rock climbing on the course. I enjoyed myself out there and got in a good 13 miles with over 4000 feet of vert.

Rest and Recover

I've put in the work, and am currently letting my body recover while I prepare mentally for the task ahead... not to mention the logistics to help out my crew chief.

In total, I've run 670 miles and climbed 80,000' of vert over the last few months, which comes out to 110 hours worth of effort. This peaked during the last couple weeks: 60 miles and +10k' of vert, and just under 12 hours of work. Maybe those don't seem like huge numbers, but part of the training requires managing stress and mitigating injury. I have been fortunate enough, despite some Plantar Fasciitis issues, I have had an injury/sickness-free training block, which has allowed me to be very consistent.

With any luck, the winds will blow in my favor, and I'll come across the line at MMT in 28 hours. Thanks for reading, and enjoy some pictures from my adventures.

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Tomas Castillo

I'm an ultramarathon runner, and outdoorsman when I can, while keeping bees and playing with data on the side. I plan on sharing my explorations and adventures here.