Since we’re just past the quarter pole for the year (and for the 100 Mile Training Plan) I thought I’d post a quick progress report this week…
So far in 2014, I have run 1025 miles (in 15 weeks) which
works out to be just over 68 miles a week. I have been building miles slowly –
both in terms of weekly mileage as well as mileage in my back-to-back weekend
long runs. This week I got up to 80 miles total, with 40 of those on the
weekend - Saturday (20.5) and Sunday (19.5).
This 40-mile weekend represents my biggest 2-day training
session since I did 64 miles last June during my Summer of 48. The biggest difference, however, is that these miles
were done at a MUCH faster pace than last years “hiking” miles. The 64 miles I did last year were covered in
just over 20 hours – or 18:45 min/mile. The 40 miles I did this weekend were
run in 5 hours and 17 minutes – or 7:55 min/mile. Of course, there was just one
mountain this weekend, not eleven like last year!
Saturday’s effort was a repeat of the Pack Attack Run we did a couple months ago. However, instead of
turning around in the parking lot at the base of Pack Monadnock, the plan was
to continue right up the auto road to the summit - 20.5 miles round-trip! 12 of
us started out from the school, but only 5 of us made it to the summit and back
– including the “Last Hero Only Hope” Josh Ferenc,
the “Duck” Tim Mallard, the “Age-less Wonder” Brian Ruhm, the “Cliff Diver” Emmet
Clifford, and myself.
The day was picture-perfect, with bright sunshine and scarcely
a breath of wind. Emmet and I hung with the “fast” guys for the first two miles
before we wisely decided to back off and let them go. And, GO they went, as
they were out of sight by Mile 4. We reached the parking lot in 1:11 (a new
training record for me) and headed up the auto road. About half-way up we saw
Josh screaming down and then the other two - just a bit later. We reached the
summit ourselves in just under 16 minutes (11% average grade) and then climbed
the fire tower for a better view!
A couple pictures, then back down to the parking lot (10
minutes) before continuing back down 101. Emmet hit the return trip pretty hard
and I foolishly tried to keep up. Many of those early downhill miles were
covered in 7 minutes, or less. By Mile 17, my legs had nothing left and he just
floated away. I shuffled the last four solo and finished the descent from the
parking lot in a “still respectable” 1:07 – for a 2:44 total, or 8:00 per mile.
Not counting the summit cone, the trip to the parking lot and back was 2:18, or
7:30 per mile!
The next day, I headed out to Mine Falls Park to do the
second part of my back-to-back. I’ve been loving the warmer weather, especially
since it’s allowed me to run my Sunday long runs on these wonderfully soft and forgiving
trails. My quads were pretty much shot from the run down Pack the day before,
so jogging along the dirt and pine straw of Mines was just what the doctor
ordered – if, in fact, there was a doctor crazy enough to prescribe double 20’s!
I took it out very slowly, and wondered to myself, if I had
bitten off a bit too much this time by trying to squeeze a Pack Run into a 40 mile
weekend. “We’ll soon see”, I thought as I shuffled down the trail. Eventually,
my legs started to loosen and felt more a bit more normal. I finished the first
6.5 mile loop in 54 minutes (8:18 pace) downed a GU, some Gatorade and an
electrolyte tablet before continuing on.
Lap two was a little better and I started pushing the pace
a bit more. I came through the start/finish this time in 52 minutes (8:00 flat)
and then said. “OK, let’s see what you’ve got left!” I cranked it up again and was
soon flying down the trails - 50k into a 40 mile weekend and I was officially “In
the Zone”! Not fresh, but certainly not tired. Not asleep, but not fully
awake. I had reached some sort of running equilibrium where I was just “there”
watching it all effortlessly unfold before me – almost trance-like!
I crested the last little hill, and rounded the corner to
the finish - Last lap: 47 minutes (7:13 pace) which is pretty darned fast for
me - even on roads, never mind dodging roots, rocks and trees on the trail!
I had said before I left for my Sunday run, that these were
the kind of days that would either “make me”, or “break me beyond repair”. And,
as I climbed back into my car for the drive home, I felt neither made, nor
broken. Just tired. Which could be a symptom of either. But, knowing a little
bit about how these things go, in two days I’ll probably feel “broken” but in
two WEEKS hopefully I’ll feel “made”!
…which would suit me just fine.