It’s taper time. Week 2 – unbelievable. Race day is almost here and in one week I fly to Colorado. Last week was very emotional; I was making bad decisions and not thinking things through – typical taper. And that has never worked well for me. But the good news – it was all reparable. I think things are finally turning in my favor. Perhaps I’ve outlasted it all. I keep working at it, keep coming back and keep getting back up after falling and failure.
However, there was some good – some good hiking, an off-road triathlon and a few good runs. This week will be all about running 20 miles for the entire week, some mountain biking and stretching.
Also very important is mental training; knowing that I can do it. Knowing that all my nutrition planning, gear preparation and training will get me to the finish line.
I’ve been training for eight months and have learned that some weeks just aren’t great training weeks and you have to take some fun times with your friends instead of running 50 miles in a weekend. I’ve always said I’ll always choose adventure, but I’m a wee bit bummed about last weekend; but not really, okay a little. Grrr..
I had fun driving to New York and swimming in Vermont rivers and Lake Champlain with Kyle, Pants-dog and Winnie-dog. It was fun to have dinner on the patio in downtown Plattsburgh. After dinner I knew I wasn’t going to race the next day; I was exhausted. So I slept in and didn’t go to the race.
The drive home included a ferry trip to Burlington, lunch on the deck with live music and more playing in the White River in Bethel, Vermont. Later, after getting home I paddle boarded for the first time on the Merrimack. Balance training for ultra running has proved useful in paddle boarding
Today, Friday, I’m heading into the week on pace to hit 75.
The total mileage will be 31.5 with 10,000 feet of elevation change. We are running clockwise and plan to bag the following 4,000-foot peaks: Flume, Liberty, Lincoln, Lafayette, Garfield, South Twin, Bond and Bondcliff.
Sunday is a 20 mile run around Concord.
It is three and a half weeks until race day. 22 days. The last few weeks haven’t really gone as I planned after climbing Pikes Peak but I’m healthy and not injured – so I have that going for me. I haven’t lost as much weight as I would’ve liked – so that sucks.
But I’m going into the next three weeks knowing I will: 1) do all the mileage 2) walk/run at night 3) continue accumulating time on my feet 4) stay happy and focused.
Wednesday’s run was fantastic with a 15 mile scheduled run and I finished 14 miles on a mixture of trails and roads. The bugs in the woods are terrible. If I wasn’t for wearing headphones with ear buds they would’ve been in my ears. The small, buzzy’ing black bugs really liked to bite the back of my arms. Grrrrrr
Thursday was a little longer than scheduled but again, a nice post-14-mile run that was about 7 miles. Since it was the 4th of July I packed in so many fun things that it felt like a super, big training day: swimming in Lake Winnipesaukee with Kendra, Adam and Toby-dog, and a fun swim in the Merrimack River with Kyle and Pants. Such a fun, fun day.
Friday was another recovery day preparing for what was supposed to be a big mileage weekend. I’m trying to not be disappointed as I write about the weekend because I think part of the ultra running life is learning to go with the changes that happen in a long training plan and just not dwelling on it; keep moving forward to the next big training day.
Saturday was hot and humid at 6am. I had to run 30 miles but after 4 miles in I had to decide to go left for the big loop that would bring me back for water/electrolytes at mile 15, or go right and 8 miles would bring me back for water/electrolytes or stopping – I went right. I was dripping from sweating and just felt off for the entire run.
At mile 8 I called it quits for running outside and went to the Y to run in A/C. The real feel was 84 and I was very low energy, and a bit dizzy. I ran 2.5 miles on the treadmill and did about 200 stairs and wanted to quit.
I sat on the stretching floor for about 5 minutes trying to figure out what to do. I wanted to go home. I debated. I could do some weights which I seemed to have energy for or more treadmill or just sit here and decide. For the record, I don’t usually ponder for so long what to do, I usually act. I usually just go home. But this time, I decided to make use of the time and do weights. This is huge for me. I just couldn’t run.
Then I proceeded to have a good rest of the day with Winnie, Kyle and Pants; and get over myself.
Sunday was a hike with Bob and Mark to Mount Washington. Originally the plan was to run 20 miles. At the beginning of the week it was unknown if I could even be able to go to Mount Washington since I didn’t have anyone to let out Winnie during the day. I couldn’t take her because it’s one of the hardest hikes in the White Mountains. On Saturday Jeff texted me and said his plans changed and he could let Winnie out. Whoo Hooo!!! It was on.
When I arrived at Pinkham Notch Bob mentioned something about two loops. Wait, WHAT? Their plan, which wasn’t communicated, was learning mental fortitude for Leadville – they would hike to the top, turn around and do it one more time. I had no idea. But I should’ve known because these guys are ultra runners, they think like me however, this one caught me by surprise. I thought it was one run/hike ascent of Mount Washington. I said I would try.
The hike was amazing and since I hadn’t hiked it since 1992, it was new to me. Although, I did remember all the rocks on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail and how hard it was. However, being in the best, freaking shape of my life made the hike so doable and so enjoyable. We had to take Lions Head trail to the top of Mount Washington because the top part of Tuckerman’s was closed due to snow. Being on top of the rock pile is one of the most amazing things in the world.
Being on top of the world was amazing and I want to do it again – I want to do the Presidential Loop before heading to Leadville. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky. We talked about all our training and they told me about Leadville Training Camp, and what they learned. It’s so great hanging out with people who are going through what you are and have the same joys and concerns about preparing for 100 miles at 10,000 feet. It was a great day.
I opted out of the second loop. But those two – total rocks stars with 9,000 feet of climbing in 8 hours and 16 miles. I drove home and hung out with Winnie-dog.
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.