Thursday, February 21, 2008

More Miles

It was another great weekend to get in some good miles and to end a peak week of training on a good note.

For awhile now, I have been struggling to get on a program. I usually just go out and run (or not) and then figure out the mileage later. On Friday, I finally took the time (at work, of course) to finalize a training schedule to carry me to MMT. And I write this now as I enjoy my rest week :D

This past weekend was the end of a peak week for me. I had a good week of workouts and runs leading up to it. It was also my first big test with a 25 mile training run on the MMT course. We covered the section from Camp Roosevelt to Gap 1 and over to Moreland (8.4 miles), then hit Short Mtn over to Edinburg (8.2), and the final - long! - stretch over to Woodstock Tower (8.2). I didn't remember the section from Camp Roos up to the of the Gap Creek trail, but did remember the section that decendes into Gap I/II aid station. I was happy with how well I moved on my way to Moreland, and I knew they'd be surprised to see me arrive when I did. I don't like the climb up to Short Mountain, but I don't mind running at the top. I'm becoming a better rock runner.

When I got to Edinburg, a number of the other runners came in soon after me. This was very frustrating. I thought I was moving well, but obviously not well enough. I tried to make it a quick stop at the aid station where I got more CarboPro, changed shoes, and made sure to get enough water before hitting the trail again. I was passed early on and spent a lot of time on this section looking behind me. Why was I so worried about being passed on a training run? I ran this section at 630am on the second day of the race last year, and it bothered me as much Saturday as it did race day. Since I've already ingrained in my brain that I don't like this 8.2 miles to Woodstock, I feel like I have to keep running it until it becomes familiar.. until it becomes likeable.. until I know every rock and root.. until I can cover it in the time I think I should be able to cover it race day. That section is "the wall" and I have to mentally be ready to run through it in May.

I was passed one more time and then passed the guy who passed me as I left the aid station. I was happy with my 'unofficial' time of 6:45. There are a lot of takeaways from the run. I know I'm becoming a stronger climber and runner, but I'm still too tentative on the downhills.

On Sunday, my GF and I went out to Prince William Park. Parking at Turkey Run, I ran the 10 mile course of the EX2 Backyard Burn trail run. I expected to do it in about 1:45 with sore legs from the day before, and that's about what I did. My GF was hiking west on the South Valley Trail then picking up some trail on the north end that I can't think of right now. I came at the junction of Burma Road and Old Black Top Road, then ran a bit more to meet up with her before hiking back. My legs were feeling it and I couldn't wait to get off my feet.

I'm looking foward to more weekends like this. Eventually I'll be up to a marathon to a 50k distance run Saturday followed by a 10-15 miler Sunday. I'm working with 2 different brands of shoes now and hope to get a 3rd to throw into the mix. I have an idea of how I'll alternate them on the course, but that could all change race day. I want to be as prepared as possible.

Also, since I started paying better attention to what I eat and just being more focused in general on my training, I'm feeling stronger mentally and physically. After all that climbing on Saturday, I know I have a lot of strength to gain in my legs; my glutes especially. I'm still not picking up my feet and want to work on my foot turnover.

There are so many takeaways from each run and so much to try to improve on with each run, with each yoga session, with each core exercise, with each kettlebell swing, and with each nap I take with my feet soaking in a tub of Epsom salt. There are also more miles to cover.. and I can't wait to cover them this weekend.


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