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.
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.