28 miles - (3:22) - Yep. An actual ultra distance run, albeit barely. A sparse dusting of snow was coming down this morning, and I knew I wanted to snag a long run to take advantage of a few mellow days of running last weekend. The weather was awfully cold and wet, but hey, I had nothing better to do. Tights, my favorite joggin' flannel, hat, gloves, and my Ultraspire Spry vest. I put bananas in the back pocket, and GU in the zipper pocket. Perhaps I shall rename it the "banana hammock."
Started out easy and settled in for a long, boring jog along the roads that snake along the Muskegon River. It's not pancacke flat, but not not incredibly hilly. There are a few climbs of 100-300 feet, and a bit of a rolling flow to it. As far as roads go, it's tolerable. Before I knew it, the Garmin was ticking off miles in the 6:50-7:15 range. I just rolled with it, focusing on breathing from my belly and staying relaxed. Regardless of pace, I have to focus on staying relaxed and keeping my stride light. Doesn't matter if it's 10min/miles, 6min/miles, or 12. If I'm going to get my shit together, I have to make sure I can keep running even when it hurts. I'll get there, but for now, I'll be happy with the way this first installment of monthly long runs has gone.
AM - 3 miles(24:00) - Planned on an easy 6, but felt decidedly un-recovered from yesterday. My legs felt heavy, my intercostal muscles were sore, and I just felt sort of off. Called it good at 1.5 miles and turned around. No time to drive to the trails, and 28 miles of roads yesterday had my mind saying "no more roads, please."
This run, in spite of it's brevity, was enlightening. The sore, achy feeling was not only unpleasant, but vaguely familiar. I realized that it was familiar because it's how I felt for almost two years. I've been on the wrong side of the thin line between pushing limits and exceeding them. For the past couple months, I've been feeling better than ever. I'll try to keep it that way.
This is difficult as well. I'm getting quite excited about ramping up my training and moving on to a new phase but a slow recovery from a long run kind of took the wind out of my sails. On the plus side, there are no injuries to speak of, and I'm excited for a workout tomorrow. I may never put together weeks of back to back awesomeness like my ultrarunning heroes, but I can do the best I can with what I've got. I'll stop babbling and go to work now.
PM - 4 hours of water exercise. This may be the other thing that is keeping me feeling spry lately. Working on the core muscles while gently stretching and going the the range of motion of all joints for 4 hours has me feeling pretty great.
AM - 7 miles - 7 miles, right? Yeah, whatever. 7 miles. 3 mile warmup on the trails with Evan at the State Park, then 7 repeats of the Block House hill. The first was an easy time trial, but ended up being faster than the others. Fresh legs I guess. Each climb was in the 1minute range, with the last 20 seconds being about a 15% grade. Jelly legs and near vomitting by the end, which felt kind of awesome. 2-3 mile cooldown afterward.
PM - 4 miles - Shakeout in the dark. Felt a bit sluggish on this one, but got down to a normal pace by the end. Around the block, then out to the barn to feed animals.
9 miles - An easy/flat run from home, just for kicks. Overall pace was about 7:10. Somehow, my cruising pace has gone from 7:45 to 7:00-7:15 on flats and rollers. I won't question, but keep the course steady and keep the fingers crossed.
Water classes at night, followed by a 3 hour drive up North for hunting.
0.0 miles. Lots of swamp/woods walking with a gun and backpack strapped to my back, and big ass boots on my feet, but no running. Some serenity and tranquility in the woods. Not used to struggling to keep warm. The constant movement usually takes care of it. The sitting part was tough. In primitive times, I would have been to slow/sickly to be a persistence hunter, and too impatient/blind to be a "sit and wait" hunter. I guess I would have been a farmer.
...also didn't see a damned deer. Winning a turkey at a 5k has proven to be a more fruitful and cost effective form of hunting.
13ish miles. Met up with Jeff at Hoffmaster for his long run. It was the best weather we've seen in a while, and it was great to trot around on the trails with Jeff. 2 hours and 15 minutes of hills, trails, and beach sand. There was a special hunt going on in the park, so we had to stay in one particular part. Not sure how cramming 17 dudes who "will be shooting at movement"(the words of the steward who told us to leave), into a 30-40 acre plot of land with a bunch of deer who have never known hunters is okay, but I don't argue with people with guns, even if they're lazy pussies.
4 miles easy with Samantha and her baby-eating pitbull at the State Park. Mostly hiking, but an hour and a half of working against sand kept the heart rate up.
Is distance worth noting, no matter the pace? Ah, who gives a shit? I'll start wearing a pedometer all the time and logging my Christmas shopping at the mall while I'm at it.
68 miles - Considering two days off, this is a solid week. 68 miles is creeping into the "high mileage" range for this hobbyjogger. I guess when you run more than a marathon on the first day, its easy to knock off low mileage for the rest and still get a half-decent total. Though I wasn't happy to take two consecutive days off, it's no big deal. Still got some execercise and about 16 hours of fresh air each day. Within three days, I pulled off a fast-ish marathon+ and a hill workout. Cool beans.
...once again, I just have to stay mindful of injuries and try to keep the legs snappy.
Happy Thanksgiving, readers(friends, family, people who were searching for shoes, people who searched that weird picture of Street Sharks I posted a year ago and gave me more hits than anything else, etc.) !