This week marked the beginning of my sorta taper for the Pisgah 50k. I say "sorta" because I'm racing the Bradbury Bruiser the week before. I don't think you can consider it a taper when you race a hard 12 miles the weekend before the 50k. Time will tell if this is a good idea or not. If it's not, I'm going to have a fairly painful September 19. Wheeeeeee!!!
Onto the numbers...
8/29, Sunday: 17 - 2:54:15, Powerlines, Mt. Ararat, Cathance River Trails and a Suck Loop. My plan for this run was at least 20, but it wasn't meant to be. My legs never really woke up, and it was brutally hot and humid. I took two short sit down breaks by the river at 8 and 11 miles to eat and regroup (mentally and physically). After my second break, I decided that my best course of action was to head for home. The HEED in the bladder of my Nathan HPL 020 just wasn't working for me. Normally, I really like HEED, but today it felt like I was drinking syrup. YUK. I was home after 14 miles, and D offered me water, Gatorade and melon. The melon was amazing. I poured the Gatorade in my bladder and shuffled off for three more miles. So, all in all, it wasn't a very good run, but I pushed through it. The good news was that even in the heat, my stomach was good the whole way—no trouble with the gels, shot blocks or energy bars.
8/30, Monday: 3 - 23:42, Suck Loop. Much to my surprise I felt really good on this run. Cruised right along easily. With my struggles on Sunday, this was very encouraging. My negative feelings from Sunday's run were totally wiped away. In fact, I was encouraged that had I not been dealing with the heat, Sunday would have been totally different. And, it made me realize how much effort and subsequent success I put in and got out of Sunday's run.
8/31, Tuesday: Off
9/1, Wednesday: 3.25 - 29:00, Mt. Ararat Loop w/ D. It was already hazy, hot and humid when we snuck out for our run after D had dropped the Little Lady off at daycare. We had planned on doing the out and back on the powerlines, but that would have left us completely exposed to the sun. So, I suggested we run the twisty loop I devised through the Mt. Ararat trails a couple years ago. I probably hadn't run this run in over a year. The air quality was poor, and we could both feel it. Overall, though, it was a nice, easy jaunt.
9/2, Thursday: 7.75 total, Great Glen Trails Fall Trail Running Series, 3.4 miles - 25:50; 2.25 mile warm up, 2 mile warm down. Forced speedwork is back! Well, I didn't really open it up all the way, but still got in a good workout. It was hot again, but by the time I headed out for my warmup, it wasn't as brutal as I had anticipated. The course this season is excellent—lots of singletrack, especially in the final mile, which also features a stout climb. (I covered that mile in about 9:00, so that should give you an idea of how tough it is.) I ran relaxed but hard, even though I never went full tilt. All in all, a good, comfortable, hard effort. Bumped into Kevin Tilton as I was headed out on my cool down, which coincided with the warm up for his fartlek workout. I tried to kill him on some really tricky singletrack.
9/3, Friday: 3 - 24:52, Suck Loop. Uneventful, easy stroll.
9/4, Saturday: 3 - 24:42, Powerlines. Felt FAN-TAS-TIC. Just a great, fun run. There were a few puddles left behind by Hurricane Earl, which may have fueled my enthusiasm, but either way, my whole body just felt great. Maybe this is a taper?
Also notable this week is that I crossed over 1,000 miles for the year. That's not a big deal for a lot of folks out there, but this was the earliest I've hit that number. I barely got there in 2008; hitting the number in week 50. In 2009, it took me until week 47. Best of all, I'd say I'm feeling stronger than ever. In the last couple months (read: since the disaster at Pineland), my focus on strength and hills has really paid off. My notion of a hill is totally different. Hills that I run regularly are feeling smaller, shorter and flatter than ever. Don't worry, my arms are still pathetic.