This week I did what I would consider to be my first real back to back weekend "long" runs. Most ultra runners agree that back to backs are the key to being well-prepared for an ultra distance race. Basically, you run long runs on both Saturday and Sunday so that on Sunday you are running on tired legs. This prepares the legs to keep going when they are tired - as they obviously will be in a 50-mile race. This weekend's runs were still pretty short: a 12 on Saturday followed by 8 on Sunday. Still, I felt the results of the back to backs on Sunday - the 8 felt harder than it seemed like it should have! But I plugged through and felt good completing a solid, 40-mile week.
My 12-miler on Saturday, in addition to being my longest run of this 30-week training cycle, was also my most challenging. I was in Madison, WI visiting my friend Kara as she preps for the USA National Track Championships in Iowa this coming weekend. I've been in Janesville, WI, just 35 or so miles away from Madison. So I drove up and spent the weekend catching up with a great old friend. 'Twas loads of fun. On Friday, I arrived early enough to watch her team do a workout on the track. I LOVE tracks so I enjoyed just being there. Then, on Saturday, I left the hotel before Kara so I could get started on my slow-paced 12-miler before she headed out for her workout. Despite my earlier start time I had the pleasure, during this workout, of having Kara and her teammate Shalane catch up to me - and blow by me - just 4 miles into my run. Always a good confidence builder. ;)
Anyway, about half of my 12-miler was on trails and hills, so it was much more challenging than the relatively flat bike path I have been running on so far this cycle. This is exactly the kind of workout I needed, so it was great for me physically and mentally. But it made my 8 on Sunday feel tougher than I think it otherwise would have. Whatever the case, I got in the miles.
It was fun to be in Madison - such a great town. It's been a long time since Kara and I have been able to spend that much time catching up! We realized we first became friends in 1992 (in Jr. High) and felt very old. (Watching her very young teammates practice also makes one feel somewhat ancient...oy.) Saturday afternoon, I accompanied Kara and Shalane to their second workout of the day. One run was enough for me so I just watched. And took pictures. Snagged this gem:
Nothing like hanging with some pros to make you come home and hit the core work!
This week I will have somewhat reduced mileage since I will be running the half marathon on Saturday. Not too reduced, though. As I told Wendy (and I have to remember) this half marathon is not the (or even a) goal. I really just hope we get some decent weather and that I can enjoy the experience.
Training Mileage Sumamary
Week 1: 30
Week 2: 31
Week 3: 36
Week 4: 36
Week 5: 27
Week 6: 32
Week 7: 40