We're finally reaching the point where the trails are clear enough of snow to get off the roads and do some trail running. Running roads is all fine and dandy, but as I learned the hard way on Friday, it does little to prepare you for running trails and if I'm gonna get through the Big Horn 50 in June, I'm gonna need to hit the trails more often.
This was a cutback week, as it turns out my first real one since late January. I hadn't planned on going that long without a big cutback, it just kinda happened. But, I knocked the mileage back this week in preparation for another couple of big weeks coming up.
Monday - Rest, played basketball at lunchtime.
Tuesday - 7.3 miles
Wednesday - 9 miles with 5 hill intervals. The new issue of Trail Runner magazine has a "Beginner" section. I'm not sure if I'm still considered a beginner when it comes to trail running, but there was some good advice in there including the suggestion to run hill workouts every once in awhile. This isn't anything groundshakingly new, but I've never done hill intervals and reading that article planted the seed in my head that maybe I should, so I did. I found a hill in Belle and ran up it (about 0.3 mile) hard and then jogged back down for recovery.
Thursday - 7.2 miles. I headed back up onto the Lookout Mtn. trails and this time encountered much less snow (hardly any, in fact). I made a big loop around and eventually over the top of the mountain that ended up being longer than I had planned on running (the plan was 6), but who's counting? Oh, wait, I am....oh well.
Friday - 18.66 miles. I find it highly ironic that in the last few years of training for and running marathons, I have never been able to find a training partner. There just aren't a lot of marathoners around here, much less many that run at around the same pace as me (not that I'm blazing fast, just faster than average). But then, after I decide to run a 100 miler, I find a training partner right away. I just had to quadruple the mileage, I guess. In any case, I met up with another local runner, Ryan, in Sturgis and we ran an out and back on part of the Centennial Trail. According to my Garmin (http://connect.garmin.com/activity/29481251) we gained about 2,500 feet of elevation (and lost it all too) and let me tell ya, my quads were feeling it. Later that day and the next I felt like I had just run a marathon. My legs definitely aren't in trail shape right now, something I need to remedy soon as the Black Hills Trails Series kicks off in a little over a month. As luck would have it, we covered the route of the first race in the series (Alkali Cr.) during our run, so at least I know what I'm in for.
Saturday - 8 miles. Like I said, my quads were mighty sore but once I started running everything loosened up nicely. I actually only meant to run 7 but again misjudged a loop (seems to be happening a lot lately) so I picked up a bonus mile.
Sunday - 4 miles. Just a short easy run to flush some crud out. The quads felt much better, ready for another week of abuse.
Total - 54.16 miles
The goal is to bump the mileage back up into the 70s this week with my biggest long run yet, a 30 miler, planned for either Saturday or Sunday (depending on when I can best fit it in....5 hours is a big chunk of time to account for).
How about some non-running rambling? This past Saturday was my kids' first soccer game of the spring. If you've never witnessed U-6 soccer, you haven't really lived. It's more like rugby than soccer in that there's usually a big scrum with the ball in the middle, eventually the ball pops out and then everyone gives chase. As luck would have it, I got recruited to be the assistant coach for my kids' team and, since the real coach was out of town this weekend, I also got to be the interim head coach for the first game. At this level, it's less about strategy and winning the game and more about time management and trying to get everyone on the field for roughly an equal amount of time. So, in the midst of shuffling kids in and out, I kind of lost track of the game but Caiden tells me that we won 8-6 (with him accounting for 6 of our goals). Chloe did good too....she actually went after and kicked the ball (last year she just ran around but never tried to play the ball, even when it was right in front of her). So, I can now end my head coaching career with a perfect record. It's always good to go out on top.
Also on Saturday, we drove to Rapid City for game 1 of the CHL (that's the Central Hockey League, which is a professional league roughly equivalent to AA minor league baseball) Northern Conference finals between the hometown Rush and the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs (how a team from Louisiana ended up in the Northern Conference is beyond me, but whatever). For the 2nd straight game, the Rush came back from a 3rd period deficit to tie the game and send it to OT. Just over 5 minutes into OT they scored the game winning goal to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Unfortunately, the Mudbugs came back last night and won 4-3, knotting the series at 1-1. Buzzkill.