Let’s cut to the chase: this is the first week that I’ve felt like I finally got my shit together. Which, if you recall, is exactly why I built a bit of a buffer into the front end of this 100 mile training cycle. I knew it was going to take a while to get into the training groove after taking 7 (ish) months off.
That’s not to say that the week went as smoothly as possible. Oh no, per usual, I have stories to tell. (It’s what I do.)
I successfully remembered it was Monday and did not run.
Tuesday: 7 miles
I was scheduled for 7 miles. As previously mentioned, our pandemic impulse buy of 2020 were a pair of paddle boards, and we’ve been loving our time on them. Anytime Geoff suggests a paddle, I say “let’s go” 99.9% of the time. So when Geoff suggested we hit the river Tuesday morning, I jumped on the opportunity to log some more paddling miles.
What I didn’t take into consideration was the 90+ degree “feels like 103” temps scheduled for that day. Needless to say, I missed my morning opportunity to run because I was paddling (cue teeny, tiny, violin – because this has to be one of the most first world problems I’ve had to date).
I spent the day stalking the temperature, just waiting for it to dip below 90. It finally did somewhere around 5:30 pm, and I hit the road.
It was, as expected, painfully hot. I started off with a run/walk interval right from the get-go in order to try and keep my core temperature down. There is absolutely ZERO shame in my walking game, if it means I can log miles and avoid heat stroke. Because as I’ve mentioned before: heat stroke ALWAYS wins.
Wednesday: 5 miles Hills
Hill work day! Ancient Oaks 100 has apparently ONE 12 foot hill in the entire 3.45 mile loop. So we’re looking at maybe, maybe 350 feet of gain over the course of the 100? (Which will only slightly beat the elevation gain of Frozen Hell Hole 100, but I digress). Needless to say, climbing skills aren’t necessary for this course, but just like Brussels Sprouts, hills are good for you.
I hit the treadmill at the gym (Myrtle Beach problems – we don’t have any hills) for half mile run / half mile hiking @ 15% incline intervals. Five of each for a total of 5 miles. Most of my hill workouts include actually RUNNING the inclines. However, I found the hill hiking workouts to pay off big time and translate over to faster walking paces in the later stages of a 100 miler.
Thursday: 7 Miles
Not wanting to make the same mistake I made on Tuesday and missing my early morning window of cool(ish) weather, I tell the family I’m getting up EARLY to run. Well, family had other plans, and wanted to go to the beach. I can’t blame them in the slightest. So we decide that we’ll drive two separate cars in the general direction of the beach. Family will park in Huntington Beach State Park, and I’ll park two miles away, at the (paved) bike path trail head.
I run 5 of my 7 miles, stopping occasionally to oogle at wildlife, or otherwise just enjoy the view. If you are visiting South Carolina, put Huntington Beach State Park on your “must visit” list. It’s one of the prettiest places in the state, no doubt about it.
5 miles later I find the family, change into my bathing suit, and spend the next 2.5 ish hours splashing in the waves with my boys. When we’re done, I change back into my running clothes, and venture off on the last 2 miles back to my car.
It’s only at this point in my day do I realize the error in my plan is that I’m now running just shy of noon, in South Carolina, in July. Spoiler alert: it was stupid hot, but I survived.
Friday: Rest day
Check and Check.
Saturday: Long Run – 14.5 miles
Saturday morning long run. I start a little later than planned – around 6:30 am. One of the most hilarious things about living in a (mostly) retirement community is that even when you hit the road by 6 am, you’re still not the first one up. Oh no, the neighborhood is already bustling with dog walkers and fitness seekers alike (though I’m usually the only runner), as well as people just sitting on their front porch enjoying the morning. And everyone is so damn friendly – my arm gets quite the workout waving.
But this Saturday morning would test my mental fortitude.
Real talk warning: (skip this part if the female menstrual cycle grosses you out, though it shouldn’t because it’s a normal part of life. But regardless, that’s your warning).
I’m a good two miles from home, still settling into my run, when I think to myself “damn, why are my thighs rubbing together and chafing so bad? I know I’ve gained some weight and it’s humid as hell, but this isn’t normal”. It’s humid as hell (per usual this time of year) and I’m already soaked. At some point though I think to look down at my legs, only to see that my tampon has failed me, and failed miserably. My light green/yellow shorts and thighs look like a friggin murder scene.
This has NEVER happened to me before (I know, lucky right?) and I definitely couldn’t have ever predicted such a bloody mess (pun absolutely intended) a measly two miles into my run . So I turn around, run two miles back home, all while smiling and saying “good morning” to the at least two dozen people I pass on my way out who are all looking at me in shock and horror.
I mean, what else can you do when you’re a disgusting menstrual mess, but smile?
I get home and see my husband and mother in law, having coffee on the front porch, who also meet me with the look of shock and horror. “Yeah, so, my run is going well” I reply sarcastically with a laugh, as I head inside. Entire outfit change, quick combat wipes bath, heavy dose of body glide, grab the sunglasses I had forgotten in the first place, and I’m back on the road to finish up my 14.5 miles.
There was a time when something like that would have mentally thrown me off of my game. I would have been pissed, and quite honestly, felt sorry for myself in a pathetic “woe is me, this ruined my long run” kind of way. A time when having to interrupt my run, and retrace my steps more times than anticipated would have made me want to quit.
But, thanks to ultra running, I’ve got the “shit happens, fix it and keep going” mentality. Because here’s the thing: just like life, RARELY does anything go exactly as planned over 30,50, 60, 100 or more miles. You’ve got to learn how to physically change your plans at the drop of a hat, and even more importantly, learn how to emotionally roll with the punches.
TL:DR – no matter what happens -in life or in an ultra – keep fucking going.
Sunday – Back to Back (or Adventure)
Ready for more disgusting “too much information”? For whatever reason, still unbeknownst to me, I spent the hours between 12:30 am and 3:30 am in the bathroom with my body violently rejecting everything I had eaten Saturday. I have a huge aversion to vomiting, and can tell you exactly the last time it happened (April of 2017) so needless to say, this was a rare occurance for me.
I sit here now feeling much better, though weak and hesitant to eat. So back to back workout? It’s not happening.
Strength / Cross Training
Well, I made it into the gym for two upper body sessions. One “push” day (chest, shoulders, triceps), and one “pull” day (back, biceps). Not the three visit goal I had, but better than nothing. For the love of all things, if I don’t train these legs soon, all hell is going to break loose, but I digress.
My nutrition felt awesome this week – up until today, of course, because I’m terrified to eat. But anyway, Coach Will had increased my goal servings for various things this week (veggies, leafy greens, flax/chia, beans) and added tofu and tempeh to the mix. I was stoked for this one, because I love tofu and tempeh, and eat them regularly anyway.
I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my energy levels since working with coach Will. Before him, I was still eating some of the right things, but not NEARLY enough. The amount of work it’s taken just to increase my water and leafy green vegetables alone has been a huge eye opener.
I’m still really excited and motivated to see the long term effects of this diet change on my running and recovery.
LAST WEEKS GOALS:
- Hit at least 90% of my mileage goals – yes
- Get to the trail at least once – nope. Busy week with kids and family, all pavement/treadmill miles.
- Hit 90% (or more) of my nutrition goals from Coach Will. Yes!
- Strength train at least 3x – 2/3.
THIS WEEKS GOALS & How I’m Feeling:
I’ve made it to another cutback week. As mentioned earlier, my energy levels are good, however I’m definitely feeling the pavement mileage in my hips and ankles. I need to start planning ahead as my mileage increases, to ensure I’m hitting the dirt more often.
- Hit at least 100% of my mileage goals – lower volume, no reason not to.
- Get to the trail TWICE, including exploring a new trail in town. Kids are with their dad this week so I have extra time.
- Hit 90% (or more) of my nutrition goals from Coach Will.
- Strength train 3x – including leg day (which I keep skipping).
- Ride my bike at least twice.
- Take more pictures so these blog posts aren’t so boring.
- Bonus points: an online yoga class.
6 weeks down. 21 to go. Thanks for tagging along.