I’ve taken some heat from my fan friends about not mentioning that I crushed my marathon PR during last Saturday’s training run. I ran 2:46 over the 26.2 miles distance in the midst of a 31-mile training run. That’s 7 minutes quicker than my Steamboat Marathon mark set two years ago. Yes, I am super proud of this and very pleased to have set a new benchmark for my marathon potential, however, I was not surprised enough to excessively rub it into anyone’s face.
And believe me, my fan friends made sure that this epic run didn’t go unnoticed:
What resonated with me the most from this run were the low points. And how I will deal with them on the next go-around. I think that’s exactly how long training runs need to be consumed. It’s not often that we train our bodies past 25-miles, so tuning into the muscle fatigue, caloric deficiency, and mental responses are what makes you cope better the next time around.
My numbers were good, in fact, they were great. I’m happy to check-off the 2:45-ish marathon benchmark (that I’ve always knew I was capable of) and make a more realistic future marathon target of 2:38. To be continued.
More than time goals though, I was relieved to have finished the last 5-week cycle with my health in tact. Over the last 5 weeks, I ran 415 miles with a per week average of 83 miles in 10.75 hours. This is by far the most miles I’ve ever consumed in a training block, and it was capped off with the biggest mileage week of my life at 100-miles (99.9 for you Strava absolutists).
Along with the numbers for the month, came a reassured confidence in the strength of my body. My shoes are dialed in. My stride, while always being improved upon, has been pain free and doesn’t make me feel like I’m running on the brink of a stress fracture. I’ve come a long way with my form over the year, and it makes a world of difference for the appreciation of this running game.
Here’s a snapshot of my last 5-weeks of training:
|Mileage||Time||Elev||LR||AVG MPH||% LR of Tot Miles|
So yes, I am extremely grateful for where I stand: Health, confidence, consistency, and encouraging teammates, who remind me on occasion that unicorns do exist. 😉
Easy running commute both ways. Felt OK. I was glad to be able to run again after such an epic weekend on my feet. I planned for an easy week with super easy jogs on Monday and Tuesday. So far, so good.
I wanted to think as little about running as possible this week. Not because I’m over it, and hating it, but rather because I don’t want to push myself to that point. I reserved this week as a mental & physical break. The plan for this low-mileage week was about seeing how my mind & body respond to forced recovery. Hopefully the lull will rejuvenate me and propel me into the final training phase.
Julia went to San Diego to devise world takeover with author, Brogan Graham. I mean she was at a conference for work, leaving me to commute via automobile to fullfill my AM workout desires.
The forecast called for snow on Tuesday night, so it would be touch-and-go for the November Project Clover workout Wednesday morning. I really wanted to make it to NP, as i’d been absent the last few weeks, so thankfully we just got rain overnight. I was cleared for takeoff.
I ran a moderate batch of Clovers, not wanting to stress my body in any way, shape, or form. The slick ground kept me in check as the inner Clover corners were super slippery.
During the workday, the clouds fizzled away and the sun broke through to illuminate a majestic view of Green Mountain from my office window. Since my car was garaged at work, I thought maybe just maybe I’d have enough time before a Dirty30 info session at Runners High in Golden to squeeze in a few trail miles.
I was way desperate for some fun in the sun. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is real in Colorado. Two dreary days in Colorado deflates our will to exist. If we can’t play outside, we shrivel up into… and then the sun reappears and it’s all ok again…
I squeezed in a 5-mile trail run, a shower, and even made a smoothie (eh, sludge-ie) before arriving to the event at Runners High. My homies KP and the G’s were there for the presentation on trail running nutrition, and we were served hot, spicy chili (not trail approved).
Up, up, we go. Our PlayGldn enthusiasts were treated to a sincerely Coloradical sunrise:
Sticking to my plan for the ‘week of easy’, I made three gentle passes over Dino Ridge, while taking advantage of the opportunity to break in yet another pair of Nike Pegasus’. Can you tell which sneaks are the newest?
Quick Aside: I’ve been stalking the marathon training of Boulder backpacker extraordinaire, Andrew Skurka. He’s currently training towards a 2:30 marathon at Boston in a few weeks. He’s improving under the grounded guidance of David Roche, a coaching extraordinaire in his own right. I soaked in many nuggets of training wisdom and mentality in this transparent interview between student and coach:
“If we can reframe the goals from emphasizing the finish line to thinking more about the start line and each step along the way, you’ll be the most fulfilled runner you can be.” D. Roche
David’s statement above encapsulates the mental transformation that I have experienced as part of Wings For Life training. It is a splendid feeling.
With Julia away, I again had to fend for myself for meals, which meant filling up on nuts and berries at Sprouts. I had my car at work, so I plotted out a running route from Sprouts to Crown Hill Park in Wheat Ridge, CO.
Word on the street was there was another winter storm brewing. I logged a few extra miles around the NREL campus in the morning, unsure if the afternoon weather would deliver. I’m glad to have run the extra AM miles because there was a bitter rainfall that drenched me on my commute home. I was prepared for precipitation with hat, gloves, and jacket, but it seems no matter what I wear while running in the rain, I end up absorbing rain, trapping sweat, and arriving home as a water-logged mess.
The wintery weather made me hungry, so I took a shot at baking my own granola using steel cut oats. I loosely followed this recipe, though the one ingredient I missed was water. The mix came out all right, and I’ll have no problem snacking on it all week, though baking it without water left it brittle and with a smokey (burnt?) flavor.
I had no preempted desires for Saturday’s long, easy run. The weather forecast called for 6″ of snow and because my accumulated mileage for the week was around 50, I was looking for 15 miles to cap of a stellar down week.
I woke up, barista-d a latte, ate a serving of PB & Granola, gazed outside at clear pavement and a white “M” glistening atop Mount Zion. Upward, I must go.
It’s been a long time since I last ran the Paradise Loop (Lookout Mountain Road, Paradise Road, Colfax/40, to Kinney Run), and I couldn’t remember the distance that it covers. No matter, I set out with no expectations, pulled my long sleeve over my watch, and traveled a slightly longer loop — Lookout Loop — which skips the Paradise Road shortcut.
It’s was nothing but peace and tranquility on the mountain side. I love how precipitation can transform a landscape and turn a familiar road into a new venue of exploration.
During the run, I listened to two episodes of the Just Curious Podcast with ultra-runner guest, Sage Canaday. I’m really digging host Daniel’s interview style and while pro-runner interviews are not the sole scope of the show, it’s refreshing to hear about local athletes from a local dude. Daniel, his wife and their new born baby, live in Golden-CO, and (fun fact) Daniel has been to PlayGldn! Their conversation kept me occupied for two whole hours, in which I never looked at my watch, nor wondered what time, day, or year it was.
I bagged 17.5 miles and even caught up with the elk herd along Kinney Run Path.
All in all, it was a solid week of running without ever feeling like I was training. 65-miles is no joke, but when you honor the easy mile system and seek out the routes and landscapes that make you happy, 65-miles is a cinch.
Endurance Changes Time,