6 miles. Typical post long run hobble. Nothing in particular hurt, but I felt blah as I took a 4.5 mile route to the SRC. Upon entering the weight room, I saw it was packed. I couldn't even see any weights or benches in the sea of people. I've gotten pretty good at controlling panic attacks in crowds, but I saw no need to go in. I did the next best thing and jogged to Pita Pit.
6 miles. Dammit. I'm fatigued. I guess it's what I wanted this week, to actually feel like I've been training. Getting a "big" week off to a slow start is frustrating, but nothing new. A couple miles to the football statdium, and 15 minutes of robust repeats of the bleachers. They are called bleachers because they are typically uncovered, and therefore susceptible to fading from the Sun. Look at that. You may have just learned something from me.
The feeling I had on this run was reminiscent of days when I felt like crap all the time. Warm ups and cool downs used to feel long and laborious, making my joints ache and muscles twinge. I just went along with it, thinking it was all part of the process of getting better and depussifying myself. It very well may have been, but I've grown acustomed to feeling good on runs. Since I'm performing nearly as well as I used to when I was consumed by running, it makes me curious. Did I develop a base that I'm still drawing from, or have I learned to train smarter? If life has taught me anything, it's a combination of both. The subtle nuances we pick up on every second of every day make us better in tiny increments. I get a little smarter every day, but I must get equally lazier to balance it out.
5 miles: Easy jog to the gym, where I did 20 minutes of incline running and then lifting. Again, crowds.
Another day of being inexplicably tired and lazy.
4 miles home from Gazelle carrying my sweet swag bag for the Kal Haven Trail Run. I'm excited to run a flat 34 miler tomorrow. I'm excited. I'm excited... Fuck.
I need a long run to feel confident for Zane Grey. It's in no way a similar course or experience, but it will serve a specific purpose. Kelsey and I want to run the course in about 5 hours. Whether flat, mountainous, hot or cold, it's a (relatively, compared to a sub-marathon race) lower intensity beating for a long duration. It's boring. I'm sure to chafe and get blisters. It will hurt and seem pointless while I try to talk myself into being in a good mood. A gel can bring you back from a shuffle or make you puke all over the trail. A mile will seem like three, and I'll swear we passed that sign already. In a way, it's a definitive ultramarathon. I've done some beautiful races in great company, but running 50 miles is just plain boring sometimes. We do it for the thrilling moments among the mundane. To get from A to B. If a kinesthetic experience can be enjoyed on a "rail trail." If you need breathtaking views and well-known trails you read about on irunfar, you're faking it.
A flat, nontechnical trail to train for "the toughest 50 miler in the US?" not ideal. Why are hills and technical terrain great for training? The variety prevents injury and reduces impact(among other benefits, but I'm trying to talk positively to myself if you don't mind). We are looking to stress our bodies to force adaptation, then why not pound away?
4 more miles after dinner on the Arboretum Trail. Sort of a tempo effort with mostly sub-7minute miles.
33.5 miles: Kal Haven Trail Ultra with Kelsey. We hated it. Okay, in many ways, I did hate it, but it was cool. I don't really admit to being a mountain snob, or even a trail snob, but a flat trail that is essentially straight and level from beginning to end is borderline masochistic. Though decidedly boring and repetitively injurious, I got what I wanted from the run. I spent 5.5ish hours on my feet(far longer than any of my training runs of late), I got a little refresher of what ultras feel like, and I spent some time outside. Kelsey hammered out her first long run in approximately six months and took 2nd place in the Women's race. I love running with her, so if there's anyone that can make a purgatory-like running experience enjoyable, it's her.
In more frustrating news, I write this with a swollen, bruised cankle. I'm assuming the rubbing of the heel collar of my shoe over the time on the course is what did the damage. Time for some damage control in the form of NSAIDs, ice, rest, and wishful thinking. I'm confident that it won't have a lasting effect, but it's frustrating nonetheless.
Hobbling about. No jogging. Everything feels completely recovered, other than the achilles. Increased swelling and bruising. The good thing is that it seems to be an acute injury and not a chronic one. One of the warmest, most beautiful spring days yet, and I've sidelined for the first time in a while. I went up North to visit my family and enjoy some Sun before going back to the grind.
58.5 miles in total. Meh.