Week of Feb. 7, 2011: 97 miles (6:53 pace)
|Sylamore 50k creek crossing at miles 1.5 and 29.5.|
This was a big week. Tuesday's track session turned into an unexpectedly good, but intense workout. I usually meet up with the Earth Drummers team - a competitive distance running team that is supported by Bob Roncker's Running Spot - for this quality run. I typically do the marathon group's scheduled workout, sometimes modifying it for my personal goals. I occasionally will have someone to run with, but lately I have been mostly doing these workouts alone after the team warmup, strides, and drills. I feel like my road marathon speed is a big differentiator between myself and some of the other top ultra guys in the country right now - and I'd like to keep it that way. Sometimes it feels odd to not have complete control of your running schedule when you are self-coached, but I don't really believe in magic workouts. Should I do 3x2mi or 6x1mi this week? I don't think it matters as much as some people might think as long as you're doing the workout at the correct pace. I find that trading some control for being able to enjoy the camaraderie and encouragement of the team pushes me to do workouts that I know I wouldn't have the motivation to do if I were running on my own.
This week was 1x2mi (10:28) + 3x1mi (5:11, 5:12, 5:07) + 2x800m (2:32, 2:26) + 2x200m (way too fast). Everything except the 200s was followed by a 400m jog recovery. The temperatures were in the teens and the wind wasn't exactly calm, but I really felt quite good. I couldn't believe the splits I was hitting for the 2 mi considering how relaxed I was running. Maybe my legs were so numb that I couldn't feel the pain. Or maybe I'm just a good cold weather runner. Cold weather definitely doesn't seem to detract from my performance, and I'm pretty sure I run better when it's sub-freezing than when it's 70 deg+ and humid. Anyway, that was as fast as I've gone in a long time, and I really wasn't planning on busting out anything like that, it just happened. My legs hurt that night (mostly from the 200s), but surprisingly, I felt OK on Wednesday.
I took it easy Wednesday and Thursday before trying a hill workout on the treadmill Friday. It was 2x2mi at 8% grade and 6:49 min/mi pace with 1 mi recovery at 7min pace in between climbs. That comes out to about 1700 ft of climb in 5 miles if you include the recovery mile...at sub 7 min pace. It was tough, especially mentally. I had never done a treadmill hill workout before, and it's hard not being able to focus on the crest of a hill. The hill just keeps going.
Saturday I hit the trails at Mt Airy forest and did two loops of the Stone Steps 50k course in 2:15 (17 mi). The snow had been packed down and re-frozen on the trail, so it was still pretty slippery even though the daytime temps were getting into the 40s. Descending some icy trail stairs and unable to stop, I slipped and fell hard on my back with my head snapping down against the ice. I laid there stunned for a minute, but it appeared I had no major injuries as a result. My neck may have suffered the most from the incident as it is still sore today from what feels like a muscle strain. After running a 70 min first loop, I completed the 2nd in just 65 min, which was pretty tough considering the trail conditions. Probably a little harder than I should have gone.
Sunday was scheduled to be a long, slow 25 mile run on the roads. Just time on my feet. Temps in the 50s were nice, but it was also really windy, which wasn't nice. The week's workload was finally catching up to me as I never felt very good. I find that I have trouble running slow though. I would have been happy starting with 7 min pace working toward 6:45 pace at the end, but I was already averaging sub 6:45 at mile 4. Even though my legs felt like trash, I just stuck to 6:40 and kept moving. I found myself losing motivation around mile 18, so I found someone to chase and threw in a 6:08 mile to catch him. I was able to ride that little boost and get myself close enough to home to finish the run respectably. 2:45 total for 6:36 pace overall. Wish I could have slowed down and felt better, but it doesn't seem to buy me much. I need to figure that out before I attempt a 100-miler or I'm in trouble.
Overall, a great week of training. Most mileage I've done since October and the quality was impressive as well. I'm tired for sure. Now it's time to rest up so I can take a shot at the course record at Sylamore this weekend.