Monday, November 21, 2011

Training 11/13 - 11/19

Main goal for the week was to get some reasonable mileage in and test out the knee. Luckily, as I mentioned last week, running actually seems to help it by keeping things loose...along with the requisite foam rolling, icing and stretching. It's still not 100%, but it's very manageable and trending in the right direction. Fingers crossed.

Onto the numbers...

11/13, Sunday: 14.5 - 2:19:58, Cathance & Pancakes. Hosted a Trail Monster get together at our place and dragged some brave souls on a loop I'm calling "Awesome Topsham." It's a great mix of singletrack, ATV trails, dirt roads, industrial artifacts, a waterfall, fields, a stream crossing and a couple trips up Mt. Ararat. So, ya it's awesome. Great crew with plenty of chatter and a nice easy pace. Top it all off with pancakes, bacon, some "French" sausage, coffee and beer, and you have a terrific Sunday morning. It was my longest run since MDI, and legs felt sturdy and springy throughout.

11/14, Monday: 8 - 59:19, Meadow Cross. Same route and plan as last Monday, i.e. kinda snappy. I was able to comfortably run about 40 seconds faster. Of note, I've done both these routes in my Brooks Racer ST's, aka my road racing flats, and I'm really liking that decision. I really, really like the feel of these shoes, and I don't think it's possible to run slower than an 8:00 mile in them. Good back to back runs.

11/15, Tuesday: 5.5 - 48:24, TMR TNR at Twin Brook. My maiden voyage to the Greely Road side for the TNR. In other words, it was also the first time I've gone in the dark. I'm not entirely certain, but I think this was also my first ever trail run in the dark. Admittedly, I'm not sure I like running at night. Even with headlamps (one on my head and one around my waist), it's dark. Maybe I just need more practice. It was also the muddiest I'd seen (or not seen) Twin Brook, so that threw me off a bit as well. My knee was barking a touch, and overall, I felt a bit uncomfortable. At least the actual running part was easy.

11/16, Wednesday: 5 - 38:24, Highland Green. Easy spin around the neighborhood. I was thinking a lot about Lookout Mountain, which accounted for the quickened pace. What can I say? I'm excited. Knee felt 100% fine.

11/17, Thursday: 8.25 - 1:14:11, Mt. Ararat x17. Broke out a new pair of Cascadias for this run, since I want to get some miles on them before Lookout Mountain. (I'm currently nursing one pair along, and a second has close to 500 miles on them. 700 miles seems to be the limit, so I was glad to have another option in the closet. And, technically, they're old, since they're the Cascadia 5s, an older version.) I have to admit that even though this run is fairly boring, I love it. There's always a point around 1.5-2 miles at which I think, "How many more times do I have to do this?" But, soon, I'm at 6 or 7 miles and feeling good. Plus, I know I'm seeing results from these runs and plan to hit it once a week.

11/18, Friday: Off - I'd originally planned some type of speed work for the day, but I'd contracted one of the kiddo's many diseases and was feeling too snotty and achy to go outside. Definitely erring on the side of caution with Lookout Mountain a month out.

11/19, Saturday: 5 - 41:08, Highland Green. I was on Daddo-duty for the day and had originally planned to get out for 5 before D headed to work. I wasn't feeling well enough to do so first thing in the morning. Thankfully, I felt better as the day progressed and headed out in the dark when she got home. Instead of sticking to the well-lit, quiet roads around the high school, I stuck with the usual Highland Green Loop, which includes about a half mile of trail and a mile of dirt road. In other words, it was dark. I felt a little uncomfortable on the long dirt road section and could feel it in my neck and shoulders when I hit the well-lit Highland Green road. Aside from that, run was fine. Good to get the blood (and with the cold, the snot) flowing.

Totals: 46.25
Trail: 28.25
Road: 18

Decent week, but a little short of what I wanted. Again, erring on the side of caution, so not a huge issue. The cold is lingering, but I'm hoping it will be done in a couple more days. Thoughts on all my runs are completely consumed by Lookout Mountain, and I keep coming to the same conclusion: I have no idea what I'm getting into. It's a new location, new trails, a new distance and a new time to be running. A lot of uncharted waters for me. I was able to connect with last year's winner through a "it's a small world"/Appalachian Trail connection, and he was very forthcoming with race course info, race details and training suggestions. It was definitely helpful, but it's not the same as being there myself. Then again, that's part of the reason I'm so excited. I don't really know what I'm getting into, and that's somewhat appealing. Should be fun. Big training week coming up, and then all of a sudden it'll be taper time again.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Recovery & Training 11/6 - 11/12

It's been a long time, but, frankly, it has taken me a long time to recover from MDI—both physically and mentally. It wasn't until this week that I was psychologically ready to run. I just wasn't feeling it. Something flipped this week, and I needed to get out there. Not so fast, my friend...

Originally, I had given myself a maximum of three weeks post-MDI to start training in earnest, but 5 days post-race, I became really worried. I walked around Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park a fair amount the day after the race and put in a 3-mile shuffle on Tuesday. My legs were tired, tight and sore, but I felt much better for it. A day off followed by a really, easy 5-mile trail run on Thursday on which I was no longer sore, but definitely leg weary. No surprises, thus far. However, when I woke on Friday morning my right knee was killing me. Specifically, just below my knee on the inside of my leg—the top of my tibia. I immediately thought the worst, and after no improvement on two subsequent runs, I went to see Julia for a massage and some piece of mind. She assured me that it was just tightness, and I would indeed survive. With a little more of my own research and tons of input from friends on Facebook, I knew I was looking at possibly pes anserine bursitis at worst or the beginnings of it at best. Knowing that my hamstrings are generally tight and started bugging me only 10 miles into the marathon combined with Julia's moderate shock at their tightness, I knew they were to blame. So, with a combination of focused stretching, icing and ibuprofen, things are looking up. And, honestly, another thing that's helped: running. I think getting some blood flowing through everything has really helped, and as long as I don't stress out my hamstrings, it shouldn't get any worse.

In the three weeks following MDI, I only managed a total of 45 miles, but it was probably enough. It did take me the full three weeks to get back on track, and I'm not out of the woods yet. I did get a solid week this week, and my thoughts have squarely turned to the Lookout Mountain 50, just 5 weeks away...

Onto the numbers...

11/6, Sunday: 5.5 - 45:12, River N Back. D has done this loop a bunch, and she suggested I give it a try. I liked it as it has a good mix of singletrack and wide trails. Just another terrific option from our doorstep. Run felt good, and I could tell I had flipped the switch into "training mode."

11/7, Monday: 8 - 59:58, Meadow Cross. I wanted to do something slightly snappy, and this loop was perfect. The 7:30/mile average felt very comfortable the entire way, and even had to reel it in on a few occasions. It was a good sign that my legs were completely recovered. I started feeling my knee only two miles into the run, but it never got any worse and would even dissipate periodically. Good sign. With a quarter mile to go, I admittedly picked it up to be certain I'd sneak under the hour mark. Really pleased with this run.

11/8, Tuesday: 6.5 - 58:08, Mt. Ararat x13. Looking to get back into real training, I opted for a return to Mt. Ararat hill "repeats." They're not true repeats since I don't run them hard, but I don't back off either. I managed to keep each lap of the mountain to under 4:00, which is a good benchmark. (I have three different laps I run in succession with distances varying from .35 to .45.) It was great to get back to climbing, and my knee wasn't an issue. Two confidence boosting runs back-to-back.

11/9, Wednesday: 5.5 - 47:26, River N Back w/ D. We took advantage of rare coinciding schedules to get out for a run together. Great easy run and my knee felt fine. Not a bad way to spend the morning.

11/10, Thursday: Off - planned

11/11, Friday: 11.11 - 1:39:24, Pineland with Jamie. Jamie concocted the idea to run 11.11 miles on 11/11/11 starting at 11:11:11am. And, that's just what we did. Real easy tour of Pineland on a dreary day. We spent the entire run talking about past races and future race plans. Many of the world's problems were solved. Barely noticed my kneed at all. Great run.

11/12, Saturday: 5 - 39:16, Highland Green. Easy tour of the neighborhood. Legs were a bit tired following my longest run post-marathon, but nothing to complain about. Knee was fine. All systems go.

Totals: 41.5
Trails: 28.5
Roads: 14

With Lookout Mountain looming, the focus will be getting my long runs in over the coming weeks. I know I won't be as prepared as I could be, but my confidence is building. I'm not the slightest bit worried about the time or distance, but I'd prefer not to travel to Tennessee and come away disappointed. I have a lot of things in my favor and am looking forward to my 50-mile debut.