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I promised myself when I started another 100 mile training plan that I would roll with the proverbial punches. I wouldn’t hold myself to ridiculous expectations, and I’d instead let my body – and my life – dictate the training cycle. And week 5 of Ancient Oaks 100 was a perfect example of that. That’s not to say this was a bad week – quite the contrary.
It just didn’t go exactly as planned.
It all started when I went for my Tuesday run on Monday. I don’t know why I did that, and I wouldn’t even come to realize I did it until actual Tuesday. I guess in my mind I was thinking it’s a fresh week, and a fresh opportunity to log miles, after the chaos of traveling and helping family move the week before. So on Monday, I ran 4.5 of my scheduled 6 miles. Those living in the Southeast can confirm that early morning temperatures are quickly pushing the 90 degree and 98% (ish) humidity mark. I refuse to do anything stupid in this kind of climate, so when the hint of dizziness and chills kicked in…I was done.
Tuesday, I was absolutely stoked to run Wednesday’s hill workout. I got myself ready to head to the gym (I don’t have any “hills” or bridges within a 30 minute drive) for a treadmill session. As I was getting read to leave, something felt wrong.
“Wait a minute…what day is it?” I said to Geoff and my sister in law Jenny.
“Monday” Jenny, who has recently moved and so her world is upside down replied.
“Tuesday” said Geoff, but he works from home and often has no idea what day it is anyway.
“Well I feel like it’s Wednesday” I say. So I shout into the house to my recently retired mother in law, who really no longer needs to know what day it is because she’s retired “JIMMY!” (that’s what we call her, not her real name) “WHAT DAY IS IT?”
“Tuesday” she replies with a laugh.
Well damn. I’m a whole day ahead of myself. But my shoes are laced and my car keys are in my hand, so I’m going to the gym anyway.
5 miles of hill interval ladders in the books.
Now it’s real Wednesday. Friend and fellow Hart Strength & Endurance Coach Brian asks if I want to log some miles in a local heritage preserve (meaning: not pavement, yes) on Thursday. I do, so I decide to take Wednesday off from running and get back on schedule.
Thursday morning at 7 am, I meet Brian and we commence on a hilariously humid 8 mile run. My heart rate won’t stay anywhere near where it’s supposed to for base building, so I mostly give up and run what feels – well – normal for 98% humidity in the swamp. I’m scheduled for 7 miles but happily run the 8 Brian needed, and in the end I was rewarded a Costco sized box of Fla-Vor-Ice pops. Life is good.
Friday (Is it Friday? It’s Friday…) is a scheduled rest day. I’m also scheduled to donate blood – a first for me. I’ve been meaning to do this for YEARS, and have always had some sort of excuse. But the day finally came, and I donated my first pint of blood. When I was finished, the nurse handed me a juice box and snack sized bag of cookies, and I couldn’t help but laugh at all of the things I do in my life that require pocket sized snacks.
Saturday we are invited to go camping with some friends, so we pack up for an impromptu camping trip. These friends are the same kind of nature loving adventure seeking human beings that we tend to gravitate to. So I swamp my Saturday long run for my Sunday adventure day – and get to adventuring. Multiple hours meandering on bicycles, finding geocaches, cooling off in natural springs, and simply enjoying nature.
Followed by a hilarious, hot, and long paddle board session, where I lost my water bottle in the first 5 minutes, fell down a bank, and was absolutely covered in mud.
It was perfect.
Sunday morning I head out for my long run. I’m scheduled for 10 miles. Feeling the sting of a few beers imbibed around the campfire the night before, and the already brutal 90+ degree temps, I opt for a run/walk interval. Geoff tags along on bicycle, and we explore more of the dirt roads and trails of Lee State Park. Running is great – walking intervals are a nightmare. The yellow flies are awake and hungry, and attack us relentlessly. So much so that only 5 miles in, we head back to the campsite to reapply bugspray. I tack another 4 miles onto the run, before I declare “close enough” and succumb to the heat.
STRENGTH / CROSS TRAINING
I didn’t lift a single weight. Again. That makes two weeks in a row, which is not normal for me. Unlike many runners, I actually LOVE strength training, almost as much as running. I think my excuses are a mixed bag. I’ve been adapting to the big upheaval in our normal schedule. I’ve been enjoying having family around again, and want to spend time with them. I’ve been focusing on my running. I’ve taken in a handful of new clients, and the onboarding process can be time consuming.
But, the excuses are wearing thin. I noticed in a series of photos that my hips are definitely not as strong as they used to be and it’s affecting my running gait. So as a means of injury prevention – if nothing else – I’ve got to get back to regularly scheduled lifting.
This week was MUCH better than last, and I hit almost all of my goals nutrition wise. Coach Will let me repeat last week’s goals, so I could actually hit them this time while not driving up and down the east coast.
Drinking more water is feeling like second nature, proof that some things are simply a matter of habit. And my veggie intake has been awesome, thanks to my in-laws and their amazing cooking skills.
Last weeks goals:
- Hit at least 90% of my mileage goals – yes
- Get to the trail at least once – twice! Though it was dirt road…I’m counting it.
- Hit 90% (or more) of my nutrition goals from Coach Will. I think so. I didn’t do the math, but I did pretty well.
- Strength train at least 3x – FAIL.
This Weeks Goals:
I’m going to stick with the same goals. Boring? Yep. But as I tell my clients, consistency is EVERYTHING when it comes to ultra training. The biggest struggle will be balancing miles with outdoor temps: as I write this post, we’re under 107 degree heat advisory until 8 pm. So guess when I’m heading out for my seven miles?
Until next week my friends, happy training!