Or something like this. Just as the temperature had risen enough for me to suffer and suck air on my trail runs in the late afternoons, it got cold again – Larry claims that Austin has its last “winter front” during a week of school spring break. Either way, the trees are blooming and smelling like crazy. And, of course, with my luck, those 2 tempo runs I had to do this week fell exactly on the afternoons that hit close to 80F. Yeah, I panted. But I hit a PR – on each of the runs.
How’s training been going? I am not sure yet, but I am liking the process. There are a few changes to adapt to. No long runs on the weekends. My longest was today – all of 14 miles – after yesterday’s 12. These are my “weekend doubles”:) This particular change brings on another one – my weekly mileage. Which finally reached a “whole” 54 miles this week! Well, it got to a mile short of 70 the week I ran Nueces 50 miler, but it doesn’t count much. Last week, for example, I had 34M. I don’t remember, truly, last time I had a weekly mileage like this, besides if I just get lazy/too injured after the race (and then it’s simply zero). If I run, I don’t go under 40. I used to be so obsessed with miles. You know, if you train for an ultra, you've got run equal amount in a week idea. I still believe in it - but I also trust my body will remember the long runs once is asked for it.
There is another number I work hard - on not obsessing about. My weight is steadily stuck at 5 lbs above my pre-Rocky Raccoon weight. Which was the same for Bandera and Cactus Rose as well. Basically, I am a "holiday scale" and holding. How is the idea of "speed melts the fat and sheds the pounds" gets proven? Not working here very much. But, again, I breathe in - and don't let it bother me.
There are more “new things”. I don’t have days off. While I had gone for weeks with skipping a day off, in fact, as many as 5 weeks in a row, I don’t plan it this way usually and sometimes it just happens (friends call, I got bored, Stephen is busy and I have to sit wait for him, car broke down and I need to get to work…). Howard has me running every day. Granted, at times I have a very short run – like, a week before last I had a 35 minute run. Easy. So, like, nothing. But, I still needed to set an alarm clock, get up, get dressed, get back, take shower and dash to work. So, no days off it is.
I do have a clearly distinguished easy days and hard days though. I mean, back when I trained with Scott, I had those officially as well, but I tended to turn them all into hard days, and all weeks into hard weeks (oh, the golden days of beginning of it all, when the body and mind withstood everything and anything you’d ask for). Then, when the “training” part fell into an abyss, pretty much all the days became “easy days”, or “we’ll see how it goes” days (and sometimes I could push, but never on the plan, and not often nearly enough). So, now, I get out and say: ah, I have 60 minutes easy, lets go and trot - I don't even wear a watch on those days to ensure not to go after negative splits…Or, I come home from work and grunt: man, 70 minutes with 6x5min speed intervals, crap…But I have to admit, both types of days bring a certain satisfaction, whether because I don’t have to feel guilty for slogging, or because I had done the hard sweaty part and didn’t collapse or didn’t give up.
Yep, I don’t collapse anymore on my intervals. Honestly, I am still keeping the pace at which I started, a.k.a. very slow (truly, too embarrassed to say it), but I am holding it well, and putting usually one or two extra repeats without falling on my face and still alive for a cool-down. Coach said not to speed up yet, nor do I think I am ready mentally – and that is new to me too, not pushing too far too soon.
I keep shaving a minute or two from my regular routes. I think it is not due to any of that speedwork, not yet – but due to being smartly rested. I am also enjoying more time to myself without putting double-a-day (I only do it twice, when the second workout is weight training) or 6 hrs/weekend each day. I may get spoiled:)
With spring break here, and Stephen visiting Portland (yes, I did wish it was me), we escaped to Ouachita trails in Oklahoma. The terrain was surprisingly hilly with long climbs and descends, even if all pretty runnable grade. I loved – LOVED – that forgotten feeling of freedom to fly down like you don’t have a care in the world. This is something I miss the most – just letting go on a downhill…Despite some clouds and rather a touch chilly temps, the views and surroundings made up for it with lots extra. It was a very lovely time.