This weeks recap is brought to you by the benefits of Over-Distance Training. Having trained for a 50-mile race last fall, training for a shorter, more forgiving distance has come more easily. My body has adapted to enduring through longer runs with more time on my feet and less dependency on food and water. Is it true that endurance changes time?
Three miles at 10-minutes per mile equals a 30-minute commute.
Reflections in the mirror inform me that my right leg has been lazy.
Give attention to propulsion. ~ not a Haiku
Poetry of motion. It’s Monday and I’m already excited for Saturday’s long run. I’m anxious to pick the perfect location for my “race” simulation. Not to hilly, not overly populated, an exciting proposition for my next proving ground. It’s been a full month since my last effort of 24-miles at Sub-WFL pace, and I feel like I’ve made considerable gains since then.
Oh and Dirty 30 training is in my mind. A timely email from the race director provided Strava course insights which got my wheels turning. The Dirty 30 (50K) trail race is just four weeks after Wings for Life. While I’m confident that my current training will transfer to trail racing, it’s fun to set my sights on other objectives. I have a feeling that I’m gonna be on cloud-9 racing on the trails again.
Workout! Ten 2-minute intervals with 90-second recovery jog. I cruised over to the Eldridge neighborhood, where the streets are wide and the traffic minimal. My watch had the workout programmed, and though I was intimidated by the quantity of repetitions (xTEN), the 2-minute pushes went by quick enough.
I felt good, not great, happy to put in a consistent effort which was clear looking at the actual distance covered in each interval (0.35-0.38 miles). I was glad to bust out shorter intervals to practice quickness, and force my hips to stretch and open up.
Is there such a thing as a Daylight Savings hangover?!? More sleeping in. The weather was rainy overnight, and I’d decided the to forgo November Project and sleep in (Anit-Verbal Alibi).
This meant I could run trails to work. Dreaming of the Dirty 30 reminded me that I can commute over the trails of South Table Mesa. So worth it! And a great change in scenery.
To and Fro.
Julia and I were talking about how our recent obsession with podcasts has enriched our lives. We are both eager to absorb new ideas and teachings. We’re fortunate to have had admirable mentors and coaches throughout our youth. Now as working professionals, we’re not exposed to many people that have the bandwidth to act as role models and thought leaders for us. Hearing the biographies of entrepreneurs, athletes, and eccentrics gives us a perspective outside our normal bubble that provokes possibility and creativity in our daily lives.
I finally got my butt in gear (not that I really have an option on Thursday mornings) for a PlayGldn session. I was planning to take it easy, given an aggressive mileage count planned for Friday and Saturday, but when you show up to Dino Ave, all bets are off.
I mixed it up and focused on easy uphills and hard down hills. I’ve talked about a workout like this for years, so it was strange to actually do it. It turns out that running 4:30/mile downhill is a heck of a lot harder than running 7:00/mile uphill.
My lungs were burning with the downhill exertion, my feet were turning over faster than I can ever remember. Tuning in to the pull of gravity and controlled recklessness of momentum, I bounded with each footfall keeping my footstrike under my body. Though, Julia told me it looked like I was over striding. I wan’t too surprised, though I have been uber cognizant of my foot fall, and I was doing everything in my power to control my flailing limbs under the accelerated forces. Regardless, I love getting feedback on my form and was glad that she told me her observations. We don’t provide enough feedback — advice, insight, opinion — to others when it comes to running, living, thinking. Why not!?!
I was off from work and in need of some family time, so I planned a run in Louisville before hanging with my nephews, sister, and parents.
I enjoyed a morning jaunt along the Coal Creek Path in Louisville. Most of it is gravel, and uninterrupted for miles and miles. My feet started hurting a bit. I was noticing hot spots under my toes and side foot. Being a year removed from a stress-fracture in my toe, these feelings ignite a hypersensitivity and obsession. However, it takes some fortitude to sift through the typical day-before-long-run niggles from preventative messages from your body.
These signals compounded into nervousness heading to bed on Friday night. As is typical before a Saturday long run, I get nervous, restless, and ponder postponing the run to Sunday.
Self-pace race day. My goal was to negative split a 50K at Wings For Life race pace (6:30/mile). Julia assembled a crew of stallions on the Cherry Creek Path in Denver with the expectation that we would split up at our respective paces and distances, but still be able to feed off each others energy on the shared path.
The first miles came easy. I was beyond confident, consistently ticking off miles between 6:05 and 6:15 pace, well ahead of my goal pace of 6:30. The law of averages always prevails in long runs.
The first 17 miles came super easy. I was telling myself to relax and ease up the pace, but everything felt so good. As I rounded the start house to the cheers of my team, I knew I still had a lot of work ahead of me. In fact, I lost a lot of mojo as I made a pit stop at my car to swap out water bottles and grab two more Honey Stinger gels. I was stopped for 30-seconds, and my legs enjoyed it, too much.
I had a fantastic 17-miles in the bag, yet 14-miles remained. The winds were gentle, the landscape flat, this was my race test to see where I’m at and take note of what needs work. Item # 1: Demeanor. Item #2: Pacing.
The last 11 miles were a struggle. Negative thoughts crept in. I was no longer hitting the paces that came with ease and hour earlier. I cringed as my watch reinforced negative feedback, and I accepted it for truth.
The main focus of this training journey has been to understand my head and figure out how to right a negative mindset. I looked to the creek seeking beauty in its downstream flow, I reminded myself that this effort was supposed to be hard, and best of all a rest day awaited with an easy week ahead.
Despite my best attempts to elicit unicornism, my body, my mind, neither were refreshing. The last 4-miles were slightly downhill, a mental boost that normally works in my favor, however, during these final miles each step was a struggle, my arms began to tingle, and I considered walking the final mile to the finish.
I was defeated, but still moving. Walking sounded awful. At least by continuing to run, I would be finished sooner.
Which brings me to pacing. Today, I learned for the ump-teenth time that early pace ease does not translate into “banked time.” I will take this nugget of advice to my grave, just as every runner out there can relate. Today I got slapped in the face by it, again. It is a stark reminder that on race day, I cannot bank a second. My goal is for a steady, consistent, smart race… I’m getting there. That’s what I gain from training. And I have another month to prepare.
So what’s next? I’ve got to pay close attention to recovery. My feet did not give me any issues today. I had planned for an even longer training run next month, however, it’s more important for me to be fully cognizant of my body’s recovery from this week. There is risk in not fully recovering before race day, so next months training schedule will be flexible and with a focus on shorter speed work. We’ll see how things shake out! As I’ve repeated each week, this has been an amazingly unique and fun journey of self exploration.
Endurance Changes Time,