My first race of 2020 is the Houston Marathon. This will be my second time running it with Mark. The first time was 2017 and I was living in Colorado. My training was going poorly due to snow and cold, living at 7,000 feet. I got to the starting line not very fit but we ran together and had a great time. The course is flat and runs through so many neighborhoods; my favorite was Rice University. I’m looking forward to seeing Mark and his friends who are also running. I’ve been watching their mileage on Strava, they will all do well!
When I signed up for Houston I was coming off a great summer running season. I was fit and getting faster. Then, I got injured – struggling to run with adductor and muscle soreness – hobbling for hours after after even a short run.
Now I think I have figured out the problem and have started running again with less soreness, but still it’s not super fun to run. I’m doing all kind of exercises, foam rolling, massage and more weight training.
I’m slowly adding miles running and hiking a lot, so in 44 days I’ll be ready. It’s been more fun hiking lately but I love running and can’t wait to travel to Texas and get out of the snow. It’s always fun to meet Mark and have a racecation.
In past weeks I hit 68 mile which included hiking but this is a solid 70 mile with just running.
This is Week 7 and total mileage is 75 and plan to follow the plan exactly meaning two days off and hitting the daily mileage. Last week I improvised some days; specifically running on Monday since I was sick the week before and didn’t need ANOTHER day off. I ran extra miles during the week because I just felt good, and on Saturday I ran 25 instead of 30 because I had a bit of total-mile-wiggle-room.
This week the temperatures were consistently in the 80s and humidity was high. I mainly ran in the morning to avoid it and on weekends tried to start early but gradually just got used to being drenched in sweat. The plus side of the heat is trips to the Merrimack River for Winnie to swim. The trail leading to the beach wasn’t buggy and not a lot of people yet. I didn’t swim yet but I’m sure this week I’ll jump in.
Saturday’s long run was an ass kicker with 2,500 feet in elevation gain. I ran out to Carter Hill and the apple orchard and along the way hit as my hills as I could.
Then came home, got more water and nutrition and headed out on the road to Bow and the big hill on the logging road. I was toast after. On Sunday I woke up sore, took Advil and headed out for a 16 mile run mainly on roads. The first three miles were slow but I was amazed when I got on the trail how good I felt; even felt fast. I knocked out the miles and then recovered the rest of the day which included another trip to the river and dinner on the patio at Cheers.
And now for a day off!
Just 7 weeks to Leadville. July is going to fun-filled. Yeah Summer. This coming week a possible Mount Washington ascent. A trip to Colorado to climb Pikes Peak. A trip to Lake Placid for the Sky Race. And finally, the last weekend the Pemi Loop with Bob and his Leadville buddies.
Just 26 miles this week. Yickes. I spent the weekend in Maryland supporting Mark during his Eagleman 70.3.
Maryland is beautiful and we got to discover Easton and Cambridge on the Chesapeake Bay. It was great to come south and see this gorgeous landscape. But now it’s time to get back to reality.
I’m a bit behind on my training heading into Week 10 of the 100 mile training plan but seeing the athletes on the Eagleman course is truly inspiring; all ages and body shapes. I actually have been thinking about, maybe, doing an Ironman next year. Maybe. Ironman just announced they are bringing back Ironman St. George that ended many years ago due to dangerous swim conditions in the reservoir. I had such a great time at St. George 70.3 (two-times) despite hot conditions the first time and frigid conditions the second time. Or maybe Lake Placid, since it’s so close.
I’m actually more excited about off-road triathlons and I’m thinking about Mont Tremblant Xterra in September. Maybe. I just get so excited about all the racing possibilities. Back to ultra running……
This week I’m going to try to get some miles on my feet and bike before flying to Denver on Friday. I can’t wait to see how my body responds to 10,000 feet and to hang out with Mary, Whitney and George! I really have missed Colorado!
Half way through the first loop I hit a rock or root and fell, hard, to the ground and into bushes landing on my right shoulder. I got up quickly and realized that I wasn’t injured but cut my left hand. Since it was raining I had all kinds of wet vegetation on me. I was more embarrassed than hurt. I started running and the only thing that hurt was my hand. Thank goodness. If I fell on the first loop when my mind was working well, I better pay attention on the future loops.
The race was so well organized. The food was good. I ate PB&J and grilled cheese on every loop. The water bottle fillers were awesome and helpful; very friendly. I loved that the aid station at every loop had my drop bag waiting for me. I ran pretty light and didn’t carry much water or my soft flasks because I knew every 10K I would have Tailwind and water. I didn’t use Perpetum until the 4th loop and it really help my energy level because during the third loop I realized that I might not make the cut-off and didn’t even know what the the cut-off was. My mind was so out of it that I couldn’t figure out how long each 10K loop took me. Was it an hour? 90 minutes? I couldn’t do the math. At the aid station before heading out on the 4th loop I found out that I had to start the 5th loop by 2:15. It was 12:15. Could I do one loop in 2 hours. My mind couldn’t figure it out so I headed out on the 4th loop to go as fast as I could.
While running the 4th loop I realized that I hate it when people have to wait for me; I hate inconveniencing people. If I barely meet the cut off, the race director and all his people would be waiting for me to finish and that makes me feel bad. I thought that if I was cutting it too close I just wouldn’t go out on the final loop. As I got closer to the end of the loop I realized each loop took about 90 minutes to finish.
I came into the aid station at 1:45 (phew!) and headed out on the last loop; everything hurt so much. Now I just wanted to finish as fast as I could so I didn’t keep race volunteers from leaving and get my 31 training miles in.
I don’t fully understand why I felt so weary most of the run. It wasn’t super hilly, the total elevation gain was just under 1,000. It could just be that I was still tired from a running 38 total miles last weekend.
As I ran this race I thought about all the things I need to do for the next 5 weeks before my 50 miler: more weights, more stairs and more time on my feet.
Gear Note: I wore the Lone Peak shoes and SmartWool socks. By the 2nd loop they were pretty soaked from the rain showers and I thought I would stop and change shoes but by the time I got back to the aid station an hour later, my feet seemed dry. Amazing. So I didn’t waste time changing shoes, I wore them the entire 31 miles.
The week of training was good. No knee pain and while the total mileage this week was less than last week, I’m okay with it knowing I pushed a little harder than I normally would on Saturday. Next weekend I’m going to try for more elevation gain and get the mileage back up where it should be. Weights, night running and stairs are all in my plan this week!