I’ve been wanting to do a bit better job of tracking my training – I use Strava, but it’s so…inherently public…that I haven’t wanted to wax poetic in every run description about how I felt, how many times I had to poop, the ups and downs along the way…so let’s try this instead! Yes, this blog is public, but nobody reads it unless I point them to it, so I think I’m largely saving my friends and family from reading about every poop in the woods on every long run.
Last week is a good week to start with because I think it was my best-ever week of training. All the pieces came together in a way they just haven’t yet in this higher-mileage training cycle. A bit of context – I raced my first ultra two weeks ago (Triple Lakes Trail 40) and spent the week prior to last recovering from that effort (topping out at 57.9 miles, most of which was very slow, some of which was on the AT by the NC/TN border – yeesh, RIP my ankles). I felt a bit more beat up after that AT run than I did after the 40, which tells you a lot about how many different things ‘trail running’ can really be.
My goal right now is to increase base mileage as much as possible – in an ideal world, I’d soon be up towards 100-mile weeks; I just don’t think I’m quite ready yet. 70-80 has been feeling manageable, though, so I’ll aim to keep it around that range and seek to increase over time, especially going into 2020. I’ve got a few very different types of races coming up – most imminently, the Nutracker 6-hr in early December, followed by Uwharrie 20 (why.) in February and the Umstead Marathon, per usual, in March. I may or may not have something after that, as well.
Anyway, onto the week at hand…
Total Weekly Mileage: 78.1 miles
Monday: 13 miles total – 10 am // 3 pm
For the morning miles, I tested out the new Hoka Carbon Xs, which feel great. I can tell the unisex sizing is a bit different than a ‘typical’ Hoka fit, because these feel bigger/a bit looser than I’m used to. I ran easy on the Ellerbe Creek trail for most of this run, which was largely uneventful until around mile 8.5, wherein I felt a weird twinge in my achilles after tightening the laces on the shoes. I had a mild moment of panic because it reminded me quite a lot of how my heel felt when I started having issues two years ago. This is what prompted the double – I wanted to test the theory that it was more about the shoes than my heel itself, so I did another 3 in Cliftons. I was correct!
Tuesday: 9 miles
Still a bit paranoid about my achilles, I did an out-and-back on the ATT – no issues, ran easy, uneventful run.
Wednesday: 20.5-mile long run
Knowing we were traveling this weekend and that I’d be crewing all day Saturday, I wasn’t sure when I’d possibly fit in a LR this week. I conveniently had no meetings til noon on Wednesday, so I got out the door at 7 for a LR. I wore the adidas adios boosts for this run and fueled with some Clif Bloks – kept the fuel pretty minimal (~50 cals per hour-ish). This was a good, easy LR – I was so pleased by how ‘short’ 20 felt post-40-mile race effort, even though my legs still felt pretty fatigued early on from said race. I felt the usual LR leg tiredness around mile 10, which is definitely too early to be feeling that tired under ‘did not just run a 40-miler’ conditions but seemed pretty normal given I was only 10 days out from the race at this point. The only bad spot of this race was having to make 3 bathroom stops at Duke’s track – Ari, when will you stop eating burgers before LRs? You know this doesn’t go well for you, yet every time…
Thursday: 4 miles + massage
We drove up to Maryland Thursday night, so this recovery day included just a short 4-mile jog around Blake’s followed by a massage. She pressed on something that made it clear my right patellar tendon wasn’t super happy, but the massage seemed to help after a day or so. The drive was long, but we stopped at the Little Nickel in Richmond to get amazing Hawaiian nachos at about halfway. Our Airbnb totally sucked, so we got a pretty shitty night’s sleep, somewhere during which I booked a hotel for the following night.
Friday: 6 miles total – 3 with Mark // 3 on treadmill
We spent much of Friday driving the course for Mark’s race, Stone Mill 50, to make sure I would be able to get to wherever I needed to be throughout the race in order to successfully crew for him the next day. At the ‘Stone Mill’ aid station (mi 27 of the race course), we did a quick 3-mi shakeout, mostly on the C&O canal. Travel and race stress got the best of us, and we argued during the run….leading us to run stupidly too fast for a couple miles. Whoops. We then checked into the hotel, and I got a few more miles in, not wanted to be too far behind for the week after just 4 miles the day prior and 3 so far on Friday. The hotel fitness room was full of children – it was not ideal.
Saturday: Mark’s race day! 7 miles total
In between crewing, I managed to get 7 miles in, mostly in the form of 2-mile jogs on various Stone Mill 50 course segments. Time was always a bit crunched (crewing is so much work but so fun!), so I was glad I was able to drive around efficiently enough to prep what I needed to for Mark and get in some miles for myself. I enjoyed every segment of the course I was able to run – the C&O canal segment was nice and flat, and the other two main runs were fun trail segments. I would’ve liked to run more of the course had I had the time, but alas…my job on this day was to make sure Mark had everything he needed to have a great race. Success!
Sunday: 17.5 miles + workout
Back at home after the race, we opted to go out to Occoneechee Speedway to run loops. I wanted to get in another longer run but failed to do 20. I did, however, get in a great workout, which turned into 17 speedway loops at what I’m calling ‘effort’. I’m not exactly sure what the effort was, but it felt ‘manageably challenging’, and I ended up running a half marathon split of 1:42:10, my second-fastest half ever and only 3 minutes off my half PR from April 2019. I jogged another 5ish loops to get to 17.5 total miles – I had intended to get to 20 but felt like I was getting into diminishing returns if I kept running…it just didn’t feel worthwhile.
Overall, this was a really solid week – I’m particularly pleased to know I was able to run that half marathon effort at the end of a 78 mile week and only 2 weeks out from Triple Lakes 40. Both the longer efforts this week felt comfortable, and I feel like these longer distances are starting to get normalized for me. It feels odd to run for less than an hour on any day, and 10 feels like a solid ‘average’, which I would not have believed was possible a month ago. After yesterday’s workout, I’ll likely take it a bit easier to start off the new week, but I’m excited to keep things rolling.