I guess under normal circumstances, this past week would have been used to recover from the Deadwood-Mickelson Trail Marathon and taper for the upcoming Bighorn 50 mile. But there's nothing normal about ultra training and, in the spirit of using both of those races as training runs for Lean Horse, it ended up being just another week. Well, just another week with a massive head cold. In June. Which sucks. I had been developing a cough prior to Deadwood, but it really only affected me after I ran, when I would start coughing uncontrollably for a few minutes. In fact, right after finishing the marathon last Sunday, I started coughing so hard I was practically dry heaving. The next day, it went from a cough to a full on head cold, with snot-filled sinuses and massive sinus pressure. I swear I must have blown 10 pounds of snot outta my nose last week. Nice visual, huh? Fortunately, the one time during the day when I really felt pretty good was while I was running. I felt pretty miserable the rest of the week, but at least I got all my runs in. And, as it turns out, I paced Deadwood just right, because I was able to jump right back into training without skipping a beat. Definitely my fastest ever recovery from a marathon.
Monday - Rest. Just my regular Monday rest day. My legs felt a little sore, but not too bad. Certainly not on par with what I usually feel like the day after a marathon.
Tuesday - 9 miles. This would be the test. And I passed. Legs felt a little tight when I started out, but loosened up nicely and ran a really solid 9 miles. In fact, my overall pace was faster than my Deadwood pace.
Wednesday - 10 miles. Another solid run.
Thursday - 4.7 miles total, including the 3.7 mile Dino Hill Trail Race. Dino Hill is the 3rd race in the Black Hills Trail Series and is different in that it's held on a weekday evening rather than a weekend morning. The reason for that is the Summer Nights Festival, which is held every Thursday in Rapid City throughout the summer. So, the idea is to run the race on Dino Hill and then head down to Summer Nights for a free beer. Early in the day, I was wondering if the race would even go down since thunderstorms started popping early in the afternoon and running on top of a hill is pretty much the last place I want to be when lightning is in the area. But, the storms tapered off before the race started, so it was just nice and humid. I felt alright during most of the race, although the course was pretty difficult....probably the most difficult trail race so far with almost constant ups and downs, which makes it hard to get into a good rhythm. My legs did feel kind of heavy and I couldn't push as hard as I know I can, but I still ended up with my best placing so far, 8th overall and 4th in my age group. Even though I didn't feel that bad during the race, as soon as it was over I felt horrible. My legs felt like jello and my gut felt like there was an alien inside trying to gnaw its way out. Not pleasant.
Friday - 8 miles. Still felt kinda crappy, both with sinus pressure and the angry stomach. I seriously considered not running at all, but forced myself to at least give it a try and, amazingly, I actually felt much better while running and finished the 8 miles with no problems.
Saturday - 14.1 miles. It's been awhile since I put together back to back longish runs, so I figured I better get back into it. My legs didn't feel all that great to start out, but the further I ran, the better they felt and the last few miles were actually the best.
Sunday - 26.2 miles. Another week, another marathon. Not officially this time, though. I had planned on 25 miles, but if you're gonna go 25, what's another 1.2? I paced this one like I would an ultra run, 10 minutes running with 2 minutes walking and felt pretty fine the entire way. This makes at least a marathon distance long run in 4 of the last 5 weeks (40, 26.2, 20, 26.2 and 26.2) and, with Bighorn coming up this next weekend, I'll practically get two marathons for the price of one.
Total - 72 miles
So, it turned out to be neither a recovery week or a taper week, which is just fine with me. I'll probably take it a little easier this week to get rested up for my 52 mile jaunt through the Bighorns on Saturday, but I'm trying as much as possible to treat Bighorn as a training run, just as I did Deadwood. A really, really long training run.