This past week was to be my hell week of running. It started with the Way Too Cool 50K in California and ended yesterday with the Prickly Pear 50K in San Antonio.
I am not a high mileage ultra-runner. I believe in a few quality workouts during the week: hills, tempo, easy mid-distance, and lots of cross-training. I also believe in 1-2 long runs on the weekend. I love to race, but have never raced on back-to-back weekends. When I saw these races fall the way they did, I thought I would give it a try. The wiseman guru of my running schedule, suggested that instead of just running the two races...create a "hell week" of training and see how my body responds.
Last year one of the downfalls at some of my races was my body, in particular my stomach, breaking down. He thought that one way to put it to the test was to push my body to the extreme a bit...I am almost always game for a challenge ;)
So as you can read in my last post, the first 50K went well. Below is how the rest of the week and yesterday went.
I was very mentally challenged on Tuesday as I had a 20-miler to do. I pushed myself to get through it before the rain storm that was headed our way hit. I did loops on the trail by my house, which is one of my favorite trails..but it was a tough day. It was a hard run, for no particular reason, and I was happy it was over. I was supposed to run 10 on Wednesday, but with the crap weather decided to put it off until Thursday. I was glad I did because I ran quite well on Thursday in the heat. I had no idea what was to become of the race on Saturday, just one week after a mountain 50K and, for me, a ton of mileage.
Stephanie, Clea, and I headed off to San Antonio at 4:45 Saturday morning, which meant I woke up at about 3:30. We were going to head down on Friday night, but I am actually so glad that we went Saturday morning...always better to sleep in your own bed pre-race. Moogy was nice enough to pick up our packets for us, and actually took the time to make sure we got the right size shirts; just how many guys would really do that???
I don't know what I was thinking with a 7am start but I didn't bring a light. I had told Moogy that I would just mooch off of his until the sun came up. When the race started, he was very gracious about the light, but I really couldn't see, and he was going faster than I wanted to go. I figured I would just slow down and make my way through the trails until the sun came up...a great way to have a forced conservative start. As I made it through the first of three loops, I noticed that because of the recent rains the ground was very soft. I also took note that the course was really quite flat. I was going to be running 99.9% of this 50K, ouch. There was one hill (about 200yds.) and I walked it each loop to give my legs a break. The trails were great, and the course was sooo well marked. I was really enjoying it. I came through the first 10+ mile loop in 1:34, feeling great.
The race had a 10-miler that started at 8:30, which meant that they were only 4 minutes in when I started my second loop. I put my headphones on in my left ear, and tried very politely to weave my way through the 10-milers as best as I could. I tried as hard as possible not to waste too much energy getting around because I knew my legs had limited energy in them. I came through the next 10+ mile loop in 3:11, definitely starting to feel the effects of all of the mileage. I think the first two loops had extended distance to get to the 31 miles. and the third loop was a little over 10, but not by much.
As I started the last loop I saw one girl right behind me, past Moogy at the aid station, and Stephanie as I was heading down the trail. I know that Steph is a stronger runner than I am, and so I knew she was going to catch me. But, my goal of the loop was to push as hard as I could until she got me...and see how long it would take her to get me. I did quite well because it took her 1/2 of the loop to get me, and off she went into the distance. My legs were completely fried, but I told myself that it was going to hurt whether I ran or walked, so I decided to keep pushing fast as I could for as long as I could and then continue to push to the finish...NOW I know what it is like to push fatigued legs!! I came into the finish in 4:51.
So my lap splits were: 1:34, 1:37, 1:40. My fastest 50K to date had been 5:11, so I can't complain about a 20 minute PR on fatigued legs.
Steph and I then grabbed my camera and waited to cheer Clea in when she finished. After that we were excited to have swept the 30-39 age group category, and win some great beer mugs...mine is already in the freezer ;)
I so enjoyed sharing a great race with them!! The weather was great, the course was great, and the post-race party was a blast!
My legs were worn out last night, to put it mildy, but overall my body really held up great this week. No stomach issues at all...no heat issues....and ready for the next challenge!
By the way, I forced myself to Yoga this morning...1.5 hours in a 105 degree room. My hamstrings were shaking during the warm-up series, and the instructor had a good chuckle at my quads pulling during the floor series. But, afterward I felt like I had just gone for a massage and everything feels soooo much better...no aches and pains at all. I am heading to the 6am tomorrow morning, since I am on a recovery week this coming week!
Have a Great Week!!