I'm pretty sure I did something this week that I've never done while training. Well, I know for sure I did one thing I've never done during training, which is to run 40 miles in a single run. But I also think this is the first time I've had a single long run exceed my mileage for the rest of the week (40 miles on Sunday vs. 38.8 for the six days prior). It probably happened when I ran the Lean Horse 50 last year, but that wasn't a training run, it was a goal race. Regardless, since I already killed the suspense and mentioned the 40 miler, here's how the rest of the week shook out.
Monday - Rest. Played basketball at lunchtime.
Tuesday - 9 miles. Nothing spectacular, but I did feel pretty good.
Wednesday - 8.6 miles with 8 hill intervals. It was snowing pretty hard, but it was warm enough that it wasn't sticking to the streets. The hill I ran was about 2/10 of a mile long and basically I sprinted up it and then jogged back down for recovery and repeated.
Thursday - 10.1 miles. It was overcast when I started and then about 4 miles in I felt a few rain drops and then it started sleeting.....hard. Sleet hurts. Especially in the eyes.
Friday - 6.1 miles. Recovery.
Saturday - 5 miles. More recovery. Didn't have time for my long run on Saturday (like I would prefer) because of soccer/rugby/grocery shopping. I know the "didn't have time" excuse is a classic when it comes to running, but when your planned run is going to last about 6.5 hours, then it becomes a valid excuse.
Sunday - 40 miles. My goal when I started training for the Lean Horse 100 was to get in at least three runs of 40 miles or more. This was the first of those and, with the Bighorn 50 just a month away, would also serve as my longest long run before that race. As with my other long runs, I implemented a run/walk ratio of 10 minutes to 2 minutes right from the start. I had my hydration pack with 70 oz. of water, a handheld bottle with 22 oz. of Perpetuem, a gel flask filled with Hammer Gel and some S-caps to prevent cramping. I started off with two big loops of just over 10 miles each and ended up back at home after 21 miles so I could refill the Perpetuem bottle and gel flask and top off my water pack. Then I headed out for an 18 mile loop that would bring me within spitting distance of 40 when I got back to town. As might be expected, things started getting a little rough during that last big loop. At around 32 miles, my stomach started expressing some dissatisfaction with the way things were going. Oddly enough, the slight nausea was only noticeable when I was walking. Once I started running again, my stomach felt fine, but of course by that point my legs were also bitching, especially when I was running so it was pretty much damned if I do, damned if I don't. Regardless, I made it back to town, ran an extra mile to get to 40 and was done, 6:26:21 (9:40 pace) after I started. If I had run 10 more miles at that pace, I would've broken my 50 mile PR by 90 minutes.
Two big positives from this run were that my pace was pretty steady throughout. Yeah, it drifted slightly toward the end, but my running pace didn't drift too much....early on I was running at about 9:00 pace and toward the end it was more like 9:10. I think my walking pace is actually where I started to slow down some as I was getting lazy toward the end and not pushing the walking pace as hard as I did early on. The other positive is that I didn't really feel that bad afterward. In fact, after sitting for awhile and watching a couple of periods of the Sharks-Blackhawks game, I got up and mowed the lawn and today my legs don't really feel any worse than they do after a 20 miler.
Total - 78.8 miles
All in all, a really good week. My legs felt great during the weekday runs and I was able to hammer out a solid long run. This is a week where I feel like I made some progress, which is good because a couple of weeks ago that wasn't the case.
Coming up this week is my first big race of the year, the Alkali Creek Trail Run on Sunday (which also happens to be my birthday). Alkali Cr. is the first race in the 2010 Black Hills Trail Series. I'm not really sure what to expect mostly because it's so hard to predict who will show up competition-wise. I could be anywhere from top 3 to barely top 10. One advantage is that I know the course since I've run it twice in the last month and a half. But, I'm still not sure I've got my trail legs going as well as they could be, especially since the winter-like weather kept me off the trails all of last week, so the entirely uphill first half might take its toll. I guess there's only one way to find out...