This was my first official week of ultra training as I started in on a 24 week long plan leading up to the Lean Horse 100 with the Bighorn 50 wedged in as a training run. All in all, it was a good week and, in some ways, actually easier on the body than the basebuilding I've been doing for several months now.
Monday - Rest. Nothing like kicking off ultra training with a bang, huh?
Tuesday - 9 miles. I also took the pack test at work in the afternoon. For those not familiar, in order to be "red-carded" as a wildland firefighter, you have to pass the pack test each year, which consists of walking (no running allowed) 3 miles in under 45 minutes while carrying a 45 pound pack. I no longer fight fire as my primary line of work, but I do work for the Forest Service and have the opportunity to help out with fire suppression and prescribed burning as needed (i.e., the opportunity to rack up some overtime). I also walked/jogged a mile each with the kids after I got home as they started accumulating miles for the Deadwood-Mickelson Kids Marathon in June. The idea is that they run/walk a total of 25 miles leading up to race day and then run the final 2K (1.2 miles) the day before the actual marathon. This will be Caiden's third kids marathon and Chloe's first.
Wednesday - 10 miles w/ 8 strides. Wednesday is supposed to be an optional day for some form of "quality" running (i.e. intervals, tempo, or progression) but I was not feeling it on this day, maybe because of the long day on Tuesday. I compromised by throwing in some strides at the end of the run. I haven't done strides in eons and it's something I really should do more often.
Thursday - 8 miles. I just was not feeling it on this run....much more tiring than an easy 8 miler should be. Plus, all kinds of shit went wrong. My heartrate strap would not stay in position so I had to stop and tighten it. After I did that I ended up with my headphone wire wrapped around it so had to stop to fix that. On the way back, I had the wind behind me so I took off my hat and put it in my shorts pocket. Within 30 yards, it fell out but I didn't notice immediately and ended up having to drive back along my route later that afternoon to look for it (luckily, I found it).
Friday - 6 miles. Again, I started off feeling not so great, but things improved as the run went along. Maybe the pack test on Tuesday took more out of me than I thought it did?
Saturday - 25 miles. I was uncertain how this day was going to pan out. My wife headed to Rapid City early in the morning to run the Dublin Dash 5K and then do some shopping. Knowing that she wouldn't be home until early afternoon, I wasn't sure if I wanted to run the planned 25, which would take up to 4 hours, or if I would just do 15 and then do the 25 on Sunday. She got home at around 2:30 and I headed out the door by 3 planning on covering 15 miles. I ended up misjudging the length of the loop I was running and by the time I got home I had covered 16 miles. When I got there, I was still feeling pretty good and I discovered that my wife and kids had gone to the store, so I made an on the spot decision to go ahead and knock out the 25 miler. I quickly refilled my hydration pack, grabbed some more Hammer Gel and mixed up a bottle of Perpetuem and headed back out. Naturally, my pace began to slow some as the final 9 miles progressed, but not too bad. And, although I started to get pretty tired at the end, I didn't feel too beat up. I did take a few 2 minute walk breaks, not because I felt like I needed to but because I know that I will have to walk quite a bit during the 100 and need to practice not only walking with purpose (i.e. not just casually strolling along) but also transitioning from walking back to running. I ended up covering 25 miles in about 3:45.
Sunday - 15.5 miles. I woke up in the morning feeling surprisingly okay considering I had just finished a 25 mile run at about 7:00 the previous night. I took some time to eat breakfast and get good and awake before heading out at around 11:00 for the second long run of the weekend. My legs definitely felt heavy, especially on uphills, but I didn't feel bad at all. I just chugged along at what seemed like an easily sustainable pace and ended up running a little bit (10 seconds/mile) faster than the day before. 40 miles in less than 24 hours in the books and no worse for the wear.
Total - 73.5 miles
This week was fairly typical of what my training will be like for the next 23 weeks. This is about what my maximum weekly mileage will be, I'll just be shifting the miles around on the weekends a little bit (like running a 30/10 double instead of 25/15).
Hey, maybe spring has actually arrived in South Dakota (do I dare say, or type, that out loud??). A predicted snowstorm on Friday skirted away from us and I had good weather for both long runs this weekend (my first runs in a sleeveless shirt this year...i have a minor sunburn to prove it). And the forecast for this week looks good. Hope springs eternal, but I just know there's a spring blizzard lurking somewhere on the horizon...