I haven't been shy on here about bitching and whining over how long it took me to recover from Lean Horse. For 4 weeks after that race, I basically felt like a pile of crap running-wise. And a slow pile of crap at that. I finally turned the corner a couple of weeks ago and this past week things continued to improve.
Monday - No running, but played basketball at lunchtime. My legs felt like I had just run a marathon. The Sundance Trail 10K took more of a toll than I had expected, especially on my quads and calves, which I suspect is from pushing the pace on the downhill 2nd half.
Tuesday - 6 miles. Definitely still feeling the quads and calves.
Wednesday - 9 miles. Ah, much better. Basketball again.
Thursday - 7 miles w/ 8 strides. The soreness is completely gone, legs feel really good.
Friday - 9.2 miles. Woulda been a great run if not for battling 20-30 mph wind the entire time.
Saturday - 14 miles. Decided to crank out my long run a day early and headed to the Centennial Trail to do it. The Centennial is 110 miles long (give or take) and stretches from Bear Butte, just to the north of Sturgis, to Custer State Park in the central Black Hills. It's mostly single track and was completed in 1989, the year of South Dakota's Centennial, hence the name. I started at the Bear Butte Lake trailhead, about 40 miles from home and headed south on the trail toward the Black Hills. I knew that the first stretch would be across open grassland, but I guess I was unprepared for just how long that open grassland would last. It ended up being nearly 5 miles before I finally hit the trees around the Ft. Meade VA. I spent much of that first 5 miles dodging both cows and cow pies. Fun stuff. The trail did get more interesting once I hit the timber, but I was only in it for a couple of miles before turning around and heading back. Even in the grassland section, though, there were a couple of serious hills, so I at least got a chance to work on that. Lesson learned: next time I run the Centennial, I'll drive farther and start from a trailhead in the Hills (like the one at Ft. Meade).
Sunday - 7.5 miles. This was meant to be a nice, slow recovery run (about 9:00 pace) after the previous day's long run, but my legs felt really good and without even realizing it, or trying, I was running 8:15-8:20 pace, so I went with it. This run in itself speaks to how much running has improved for me in the last couple of weeks. During my Lean Horse recovery, it took every thing I had to run faster than 9:00 pace. During this run, it would have taken everything I had to slow myself down to that pace. I much prefer having the latter problem.
Total - 52.7 miles
This week I have another trail race, the second to last one in the Black Hills Trail Series, looming. The 10-10-10K is on Saturday. As the name suggests, it's a 10K on October 10th. Actually, it could be the 10-10-10-10K since it starts at 10 AM. And, next year, if they did it on a Sunday at 10AM, it could be the 10-10-10-10-10K . But I digress. The race is on the Buzzard's Roost trail (sounds like a lovely place, huh?), someplace I've never been to. I suspect there will be hills, since there tend to be a few at these things (what fun would running on a trail be if it were perfectly flat?). I'm less worried about the hills than I am the weather. October in South Dakota represents the time when winter and fall abruptly shift back and forth in a struggle for supremacy. This week, it appears as if winter will be the victor. We got our first snow yesterday and the forecast for Saturday is a low of 17 in the morning and a high of 34 that afternoon, so it should be somewhere in between at race time. I'm guessing that if the trails aren't snowy they'll be muddy since rain/snow is predicted for much of the week. But, hey, what fun is trail running if you don't get a little dirty, right?