You know you're in South Dakota when a few of the coolest runs of the summer and a two of the hottest come in the same week. The first three runs, all done early in the morning, were between 49 and 51 degrees, just about perfect. Then, I closed the week out with two long runs in the mid-80s. Not perfect, but good training for Lean Horse (I'm guessing it won't be 50 degrees all day long on August 22nd, but stranger things have happened).
Monday - Rest from running, played basketball at lunchtime.
Tuesday - 8.6 miles. This was intended to be an easy run, but I felt really good from the start so I decided to do a progression run. After running the first mile in 8:47, my mile splits got gradually faster for every mile, clocking a 6:53 for the 8th mile. The last 0.6 was a cooldown run back to the house.
Wednesday - 6 miles, basketball again.
Thursday - 9.7 miles.
Friday - 5 miles with 6 strides and more basketball. The highlight of the day was draining 5 straight three pointers in the last basketball game. It's never happened for me before, probably won't again, but it was fun while it lasted.
Saturday - 18.7 miles. Shannon ran the Spearfish Canyon Half Marathon in the morning (she ran a 2:19, her fastest half out of three this year). As soon as she got done, I grabbed the Garmin and set off on my own run while she cooled down and then took the kids to Wal-Mart for the weekly grocery shopping adventure. As warm as it was by the time I started running, it was still preferable to facing the Wal-Mart masses. I used a 20 min. run/4 min. walk strategy again and it went really well. After 3 hours, I met the family back at the city park and sat my butt down in frigid Spearfish Creek for awhile. Once my feet went numb, it felt pretty damn good.
Sunday - 18.4 miles. Another 3 hour run using the 20:4 run:walk strategy. Hoping for cooler weather, I got up early and started running a full three hours earlier than I had on Saturday. It was a little cooler for the first half hour or so, but the sun was in full force and the temperature shot up 20 degrees in less than an hour and before I knew it it was the same temp as Saturday (mid-80s). As expected, this run didn't go quite as smoothly as the previous run, but that's kind of the entire point....to teach my legs how to keep chugging along even though they're tired. It was encouraging that toward the end of the run, even though my running pace wasn't fast at all, I was able to maintain a steady run pace and didn't suffer from any major fatigue....I finished tired, but feeling like I could have gone further if I had to (but I didn't really want to).
Total - 66.4 miles
I've got less than a month until Lean Horse. The next two weeks will be my big push, with 4 hour/5 hour back to back long runs planned for the next two weekends before I start tapering. This whole training cycle has been kind of disjointed thanks to the fact that I can't resist other racing temptations (i.e., a half marathon PR at Deadwood, running the Missoula Marathon for an attempted PR), but if I can make it through the next two weeks, I should be reasonably prepared for Lean Horse (or so I say now....ask me on August 23rd).