Let Elliot Cook – My 100 Mile Run Week

The three P’s: Always Persevere, always have a great Perspective, and always have great Purpose in your life.

-Russell Wilson

Due to most triathlons being cancelled or postponed in 2020, I had to step up my brainstorming skills to come up with endeavors that would motivate and challenge me.

Treadmill marathon: Check.

Zwift Everesting (single ride, 29,029 feet climbing): Check.

Indoor Ironman: Check X 2

Although each of these events were challenging, I needed to think of something extra special, extra demanding, and borderline impossible/crazy. I needed to let myself cook.

During the summer, out of sheer boredom, my friend Adam and I challenged each other to see how many 70+ mile run weeks we could do in a row. This challenge was fun… until the old dad bod of Adam injured himself. Since, he’s gone nuts building a tethered swimming pool in his garage. Even with most pools shutdown in Washington, I was not that desperate.

Instead I enticed myself to come up with my own running challenge to cap off 2020. My goal was to reach 100 miles of running for a week with the following mandates:

  • All runs must be done outside, unless heavily flooding, snowing, icy… or if CHAZ relocated to my neck of the woods.
  • Every mile must be 7:30 pace or faster.
  • Final run must be a sub three hour marathon.

I hired an interim run coach (Mr. Bobby Wein) and he shared some very insightful run tips throughout the week. By far, the best advice he gave was stuffing newspaper in my wet shoes to help them dry faster. It was an especially wet week in the PNW so I went through quite a bit of newspaper.

Weather for the week was not looking promising.

My plan throughout the week was as follows:

  • Monday – 14 Miles Total, 9 Miles AM; 5 Miles PM
  • Tuesday – 16 Miles Total, 10 Miles AM; 6 Miles PM
  • Wednesday – 14 Miles Total, 8 Miles AM; 6 Miles PM
  • Thursday – 19 Miles Total, 14 Miles AM; 5 Miles PM
  • Friday – 8 Miles, Taper
  • Saturday – 3 Miles, Taper
  • Sunday – Marathon

All runs were done at a steady-state effort with no speed work involved.

Actuals:

  • Monday – Run #1- 9.06 Mi & Run #2 – 5.01 Mi
    • 14.01 Cumulative mileage for the week
    • Bobby words of advice: And so it begins. You need to SLOW DOWN though, seriously, you have many more miles to log.
      • Running slow sucks and just wastes time, coach.
  • Wednesday (rained all day) – Run #1 – 8.42 Mi & Run #2 – 6.04 Mi
    • 44.7 Cumulative mileage
    • Bobby words of advice: GREAT GREAT WORK!!! AWESOME — Now go down to the Lakeside Grocery to pick up another couple newspapers to get you through the rest of the epic 100! Don’ t ever try other paper in shoes, everything else falls apart and ends up feeling like pebbles (TP is the worst and other absorbent things have similar problems…only newspaper can get to all crevasses and come out whole)
  • Thursday – Run #1 – 14.01 Mi & Run #2 5.03 Mi
    • 63.74 Cumulative mileage
    • Bobby advice: Get sleep, eat well, rest and then be mentally strong for the 19. Do NOT hit snooze button tomorrow morning, it will be key that you get up immediately to set the tone for a strong long day. STRONG STRONG!! The taper will begin soon (though day one of it will still be Brutal). Hang in there, you are Killing it!
  • Friday – 7.62 Mi Run
    • 71.36 Cumulative mileage
    • Bobby advice: Now, as for the next ten miles over 2 pre-race days: 7.5 and 2.5. Logic there is that 2.5 on day before race is just enough for muscles to be warm enough to stretch after while being as minimal total mileage on the day before the race as possible.
  • Saturday – 2.62 Mi Run
    • 73.98 Cumulative mileage
    • Bobby advice: Believe in taper….run early and rest ALL day.

Despite the soggy weather most of the week I managed to get all runs in outdoors. The marathon on Sunday was the last thing left to do. The toughest stretch was definitely the Thursday runs as I could feel the cumulative fatigue from the big run days prior. Friday, I felt the most awful but knew I was in mini taper mode for my marathon attempt. I was able to hold around a seven minute pace for all runs.

Race day:

I decided to run around my parents lake, a 1.94 loop (13.5 total laps) and approximately 100 feet of climbing per loop. I called it the inaugural Lake Morton Marathon.

My Mom and Becca decided to join in on the fun. They each ran a half marathon and gave me company for much of this run. Becca ran the first 10k with me but the blistering pace was not in her cards for the day. As soon as she finished, she hopped on a mountain bike to hand me water the gels the rest of the way. Thanks Boo!

The two-day taper made me feel relatively fresh and recharged from the high mileage earlier in the week. My plan was to start a little more conservatively around 6:50-7:00 pace. However, the low 50 degree temps, no wind, and ideal running conditions made me go for it. I ran based off feel and heart rate, and the result was 6:30-6:40 pace right out of the gates.

Halfway, I glanced at my watch… 1:27:45. Well ahead of my sub three hour goal.

I continued chugging along as the short, steep hills per loop began to take its toll. I used the downhill segments to recover a bit after the slog up each climb… then jumped right back on pace. All the hilly training runs were paying off. The rolling terrain definitely helped break up the monotony of this looped course.

Miles 18 through 22 were the toughest as I was beginning to fatigue. I focused on a good form, fast feet, relaxed breathing, and positive thoughts. My slowest mile of the day was a 6:50 mile.

I had my own race entourage. There were many walkers around the lake watching in amazement as I ran past them multiple times throughout the morning. I managed a small surge at the end with Becca following on her bike and my Mom tailing close behind in the car shouting words of encouragement and shaking the cowbell.

My official time: 2:55:08 (6:41 pace with 1,191 feet of elevation gain)

Marathon Garmin File

Final Stats:

Total miles for the week: 100.21 miles

Total cumulative elevation gain: 4,711 feet

Total cumulative time for the week: 11 hours, 38 minutes (6:58 average pace)

The high run volume weeks over the last several months have clearly helped. I set a monster goal for myself and in a lot of ways this challenge seemed more demanding than an Ironman race itself. I had to closely manage my efforts, recover the best I could, and run A LOT over the course of the week at a relatively fast clip.

I enjoy setting these types of personal goals for myself and it’s the process of building my run fitness throughout the the past several weeks that have been the most rewarding.

Russell Wilson put it nicely: “It’s a lifestyle.  You either commit to the lifestyle or you don’t.  I want to be great.  I want to be the best.  This is my norm.  This is who I am.”

Let Elliot Cook. Happy holidays and Merry New Year.


Video compilation by Becca!

Tags: , , ,

Categories: Race Report, Races, Training

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