Last week had its ups and downs, which is typical during training. But after looking at last week’s totals, I actually did better than I thought. As you can see below, there were hits and misses, but overall, not too terrible.
And after consulting with my coach, he said that I would definitely feel more beat up this training season. My goals are aggressive and so is my training. I need to keep paying attention to my body and listen to it when it tells me to give it a break.
I worked a lot on hill training this week and I hope to have an ass of steel by the end of Spring. I’m going to need it to climb the mountains at Mountain Lakes 100. I didn’t get my usual strength training in and I didn’t get as much yoga as I hoped, only once for each this week. But my goal is to try and increase my yoga to three times a week as I desperately need to work on my balance and core strength and I hope to get back to my usual twice a week strength training routine next week.
Right now I’ve been keeping my weekday runs indoors on the dreadmill. It has helped with keeping my asthma under control and my chronic bronchitis at bay. And despite the god-awful-subzero-freeze-your-nuts off temperatures, I took both of my long runs out on the trail. Surprisingly, my asthma remained under control (although I could feel my lungs tighten as the miles went along).
Saturday I headed out with the Charm City Run group to Susquehanna State Park to train on the HAT50K course. The HAT50K is a pretty aggressive course with about 9,800 ft of elevation gain and I was not feeling it at all. I don’t know if my legs were tired from what I did during the week, or if they were just frozen slabs of meat from the arctic cold, but my legs did not want to move. I wiped out at mile 2.5, landed on my good knee and bent the tip of my ring finger backwards. It was one of those slow motion falls where you see it happening and you say in your mind in that deep slow motion voice, “ooohhh noooo, heeeeree it cooooomessss…” BAM! And there it is. I took a moment to gather myself and then started back on my way. My knee is bruised but okay and my finger, totally fine.
Despite fighting 30-40 mph wind gusts, falling on my ass, and struggling to lug my big ol’ ham hocks around, it was a beautiful run. My phone died half way through the run so I couldn’t take pictures like I like to, but my friend Alex did and they were beautiful.
I struggled and whined the entire time and at the end of the run, I went home, showered, fixed myself some ramen noodles and napped. I woke up to eat again, and napped some more. The run beat the living shit out of me. And I was done.
Sunday’s run was a little better. It was still cold as balls and my legs were still nothing but dead weight, but it was fun nonetheless. Alex, Tim, and I coordinated to meet on Sunday and when I woke up and saw that it was 9 degrees, I sent them a message “It’s 9 degrees. Are we doing this?” I HOPED that someone would say, “naaa…let’s run inside.” But, no. Alex chimed in that he was geared up and on his way, and I deflated. Can you see his big ol’ gung ho smile through the instant message? Yeah, I did too. <sigh>
We hoped to get in 10 miles at Gunpowder, but ended up with 7.5 which worked for me as I only had 8 on my schedule. The cold was just too much and when I mentioned the brunch buffet at the lodge that was right around the corner, it was set…we were eating.
Despite the difficult run, it was much better than Saturday, and frankly, it was much more beautiful. We took our time and when we couldn’t cross a stream or if a path was too icy to run on, we just stopped took a moment to soak in the beauty of it all before backtracking to another path.
Both training runs would’ve been completely unbearable without my comrades. Deneen hung out in the back with me on Saturday keeping me company (I love running with her) and Alex and Tim waited for me at every cross section on Sunday so that I could catch up with them.
And this weekend, I especially enjoyed my run with Alex and Tim. Alex is a new running…2 years new…and he still has that awestruck discovery of trail running in his aura. He’s a young kid in his 20’s and he already has power and speed. He says he feels like a lunk running through the woods, but I see a potential powerhouse. He has his sights sets on the big races including the 100-milers and Spartathalon and I have no doubt he’ll run any race he enters strong. I look forward to watching him grow in the world of running.
And Tim is getting back to running after being on long hiatus due to severe planter faciitis. He thought he had to give up running altogether until a friend of ours got him out on the trails with us last year. You can clearly see, as with most of us, that he cherishes every moment out on the trails. To have the thought of having running ripped away from you can be devastating. To have that given back to you when you have almost given up hope, well I can’t imagine how wonderful that must feel. When I watch Tim run, I see his seven-year old self prancing through the woods. He runs with a spring in his step and sometimes his head tilts to the side just so. And every time he takes off in front of me, no matter how shitty my run is, I just have to smile because I know I’m watching pure joy.
Running with friends dulls the misery of running. As runners, I think we enjoy the misery, but having someone share in it just makes it…well…I guess fun misery. And knowing that your friends understand all the good and bad moments is comforting for you know they truly understand where you are in your mind and heart. The joy of running is incredible. The joy of running with friends, well that’s just something you can’t describe.