I've learned something from this blog already. That thing is to stop planning. I planned on hitting about 100 miles this week in preparation for North Country. Planning was my mistake because it's just not my style. My best weeks of training have been products of sporadic runs and enjoying myself. Taking myself and my training too seriously has led to running being less fun. If I've gotten as far as I have by having fun, then there must be something to it, because planning and trying too hard has not gone well. I managed 45 miles this week- a far cry from the 100+ I had anticipated.
The week started out well, with a nice run at a reasonable tempo effort. I was then attacked by blisters on my achilles. Running 10 miles in an untested pair of shoes was a stupid move on my part. I attempted to continue on without letting the blister heal, but it then became swollen and caused my achilles to become sore and inflammed. My gait was affected by the soreness, and the opposing leg started to ache from overcompensating.
I muttled on through the week, managing a double of fairly respectable mileage. The first run of that day was a re-inforcement to the notion of enjoying the trail and taking in the sights and sounds. It's why I fell in love with running in the first place, and it can help me keep that feeling if I can forget the pressures. I ran sporadically for the rest of the week and capped it off with a great run with my friends Mark, Rick, Jason and Shelly. It was certainly a "low mojo" week.
It's become clearly obvious to me that I was inadvertently maintaining a delicate balance by just doing as I felt was right for the day, and trusting my instincts. My mileage-and run quality-went up by just mellowing out and not sticking to a schedule of any kind. I've learned this week to just let the flukes of fitness come to me and hope they're timed right for races. The endurance is there for me to actually enjoy the North Country 50- a true blessing for what looks to be a beautiful trail, and something I've never experienced in an off-road ultra. The speed shouldn't be an issue. If I'm truly enjoying the run, the speed will come. I've proven to myself in recent performances that I can run fast at a moment's notice, even when on the verge of collapse(Kal-Haven, Mind the Ducks, and my 68-mile adventure run with Jason and Mark). Bear in mind that speed is relative-Im not a fast runner, but every runner knows when they're running at peak performance, so I don't mean to sound overly confident.
Heres my week in more of a numbers form
Friday- nuthin'- lack of motivation and excess pain in the legs
Saturday-nothing- started in a bachelor party early- no time for running shenanigans.
Not a great week from a performance standpoint, but I hope it has helped me realign my goals and keep me motivated. My knee is acting up, and I feel that the conservative approach is the best bet with my pacing duties and the 50 looming in the distance.
Another part of my week is the beginning of something bigger than myself. I'm heading to Northeastern Ohio for the Burning River 100(Most probably know this as they are followers of Jason Robillard's blog). As of now, Im Jason's only pacer for the race. I have to admit, Im pretty excited to take on the duties of pacing. Im anxious to learn the ins and outs of 100milers and to, in a small way, repay a friend and mentor who's done countless things to help me over the past year. Since Jason isn't one to toot his own horn, so I'll do it for him: He's underestimating himself. His training is nothing short of impressive. Considering relatively low mileage, his performance and recovery from long runs are great indicators of his upcoming performance. Im grateful to pace him for the last miles of the race.