This weekend I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon; a marathon I have been wanting to do for a long time. I almost signed up for Umstead but didn’t get in; a 100 mile race in April in North Carolina.
This week I start a new training block getting ready for a few marathons. The training plan has me biking twice a week which I’m excited for since it’s the best time of year to bike.
My next race is September 22 – Kismet. I’m excited to run/hike it since it’s billed as being very difficult and I haven’t spent much time over by Conway since I moved back to New Hampshire. I’ve never hiked Moat or Cathedral Ledge.
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.
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!
This is the second recovery week since I started training. What a strange week this has been.
As a recovery week, the mileage during this week was really low and I took a few more days off due to knee pain. I think I figured out what happened with my knee: the fall, over use, stress and putting on too many miles. I’m following a plan that has gradual mileage increases but it still wrecked my body. I think, too, that I stopped weight training and that didn’t help. I did everything right this week, well, maybe not everything right but I iced, rested, elevated and got my legs stronger. Since I had pain in the adductors weeks leading up to the knee injury, I think that part of the knee pain was coming from the weak adductors.
Now, I will get back to weight training and do my core exercises every day. I remember reading that the most important think about ultra running is arriving to the start healthy and injury free. The miles have been a struggle on my aging body and now I understand that I have to do everything I knew I had to do to stay healthy and injury free.
I will do yoga a few times a week and weight training. I will hike and run at night.
Next week is Week 19 – the biggest week yet.
I’m excited for the week and to be strong and healthy.
For my Saturday long run I always create a new playlist. This Saturday I added some new songs I haven’t heard in a long time from the Dixie Chicks to Trisha Yearwood.
The one song I added but didn’t really know was Born Free from Kid Rock. I have some of his songs on other playlists like Cowboy and Wasting Time but I added Born Free not really remembering what the song was about but curiously remembered when the new CD came out – oh so many years ago.
As I’m running up the big Carter Hill Born Free plays and now, a few days later, I remember every word as my heart is pounding and the wind is whipping in my face.
Calm facing danger Lost, like an unknown stranger Grateful for my time with no regrets.
Close to my destination Tired, frail and aching Waitin’ patiently for the sun to set
And when its done believe that I will yell it from that mountain high
Kid Rock, Born Free
I think a lot about my life while I’m running for hours in my home state of New Hampshire. So many songs remind me of my time out west, chasing dreams and living the life west of the Continental Divide in the high peaks of Colorado and the deserts of Arizona. I lived out west for almost 15 years and it was my dream. Now, as I get older and I’m back east, I’m trying to find out new dreams and figuring out how to make my life extraordinary. Songs like this remind me to not give up, and make me feel so lucky that I can still go find my dreams because we are born free. We are free – don’t take it for granted. Seriously, there is still so much to do, achieve, dream and be. Songs like this remind me of that.