While my fueling game is stronger than it ever was (Thanks Gatorade Endurance), my actual endurance is up for debate.
I had big plans for getting back on track post October chaos, but I swear the universe laughed and said hold my beer. November was more of the same plus some extra crazy which saw me changing my running MO. Actually still a work in progress, my week day running has been completely derailed. The farthest I’ve run in 2 months is 10k. And it wasn’t a walk in the park.
We finally said goodbye to lingering summer warmth and rain came for the first time since April. And hasn’t stopped. Don’t get me wrong, we need the rain as we are in a constant state of drought, but too much too fast brings along a new set of chaos.
Saturday is currently showing an 80% chance of rain.
25K is 15ish miles. 2ish giant climbs. The first one the hardest and the shale rock is tough on a good day… what will it be when wet?
That’s more than double the longest I’ve run in months. In less than optimal circumstances.
There is a 13K I could drop to but my pride stings at that. I set a half cocked goal for a 50K this year and if I dropped I wouldn’t even be completing half of that goal. But would pushing myself to finish the 25K just hurt my odds of training for a 50K in the first half of 2020? And training healthy at that??? The greatest fuel (did I mention I love it?) in the world won’t help me if I hurt myself.
So, decision time. Smart or stupid? How may Blackberry gels should I pack?
For more on Gatorade Endurance go HERE and learn on to Fuel Your Journey.
By most standards, last week would seem less than stellar. By my standards, it was a surprisingly solid week.
Not that it was without it’s ups and downs but I’m going to stop challenging the universe by saying “things should calm down soon”. The past few months have shown that it only comes across as a challenge. Message received.
Monday- Rest Normally on days when I don’t work, my goal is to push for extra miles. However for the first time in months, I actually woke up feeling not tired. It had been so long I almost forgot what it felt like. I was loathe to lose that feeling so I just enjoyed it.
Tuesday- 3 miles I wanted to try the river path for a night run. I knew most of it was lit but was unsure on the rest. Good news- the big section has the most lights I’ve found in my town. Bad news- the dark section is DARK. I’m still looking for the best option for night running. Plus was this run was pretty chill.
Wednesday-???? ummmmm, crickets?
Thursday- Nothing I should have run but I wasn’t feeling it. Stupid.
Friday– Let’s just forget Friday was a thing.
Saturday- 6.3 miles I was feeling not great, not horrible but off. I had an odd back pain and felt just sluggish. I headed out in the mid afternoon, not expecting much. I never got over the sluggish feeling and there were plenty of walk breaks- ok, let’s be real- run/walk intervals- thrown in. That being said, it was a decent run.
Sunday- 3.5ish miles Dirt. I headed for a trail to get in some time on the hills. This was also the first time I’ve run trails by myself so that was pushing my comfort zone more than a little. There were plenty of people out there but I never realized how the time change effects the light on the trail. So much shadier and darker! Not cold- it was 85*, ha! Where is fall? But it was exactly what I needed. Just me, my running shoes and the dirt. Can’t think about anything when you have to watch your footing right?
So, 12ish miles for the week. Like I said not much by most people’s standards but decent by mine. Especially recent weeks.
I had big plans for October. 1 road half and 2 hard trail half’s. The last one was supposed to be my victory dance for the year. Ok, maybe less victory and more proof of will power but still.
Then October knocked me back a few pegs. I feel like I lost 5 years of fitness in the last 4 weeks. Is that possible? I feel like it is now. This bout with asthma is kicking me hard. It’s been years since it’s been this rough and I still can’t figure out what triggered it. I ran 5 miles last week- 5. (Also consider this Week 43) How is that going to get me to a 50K? It won’t.
And for once I’ve been smart about things. I dropped to the 10K for both the road race and Space Rock. And that last trail half that was supposed to be a party? That was supposed to happen a few days ago- Sunday. I didn’t even try. I knew I wasn’t in the head space or shape for 13ish miles of hard effort climbing. And they had no shorter distances. Attempting it likly would have set me back months in the long run.
I’ve run numerous races sick, some feverish and possibly out of it. Why? Because Goonies never say die? That’s stupid. I may be getting to an age I don’t want to admit anymore but maybe I am finally learning a few things. Maybe.
So when the road hits a fork, you have choices. I could bury my head in the sand and just be a lazy bum until next year. I mean, cold weather is coming right?
Nope. I am still aiming for a 50K in the early months of 2020. So in keeping with that theme, I have a new plan for the next 7 weeks culminating with a local-ish 25k in December. This should give me time to make up some of the ground I lost in the last few weeks. Also this race is a known entity– I know where the killer climb is and where the other mountain is. And the cruel turn-around. And I will be training on these trails. If I say it decisively, it will happen, right?
I may have finally figured out how to fuel my body, now I just need it to breather properly.
I am not exaggerating when I say if I hadn’t dropped to the 10K, I would have DNF’ed the half and likely have needed help off the course.
I first heard of Space Rock last year and thought it looked awesome but likely too far away. A little Googling and I learned it was only 3 hours south! But I had an insane October already last year with 2 halves at opposite ends of the state and a 2+ week work trip. So I passed. Instagram adds got me this year and I signed up.
Then the last 3-4 weeks went to hell in a hand basket and I wasn’t sure I was going to even start the race. However I knew that if I did, I was not in the mental shape for a tough trail half nor was I feeling physically up to it so I messaged the race and dropped to the 10K.
I headed down towards Santa Clarita on Friday wondering if the race was even going to happen due to large fire about 20ish miles away. Somehow the air over Vasquez Rocks seemed clear. I picked up my race stuff and checked into a hotel.
The race swag was awesome- the coolest tye dyed shirt and cutest canvas bag.
Race morning dawned clear and early. Parking was fairly convenient in a dirt lot. Then I walked the mile in to the start. The race started about 30 minutes late due to one of the bus shuttles breaking down. Just gave me time to use the port a potty.
Did I mention I was running this race in new trail shoes and a new watch?? 😂 We lined up and we were off.
Mile 1- 11:58 I was wheezing 1/4 mile in. Wait, what? It wasn’t cold and it wasn’t humid. The only thing I can figure was that I breathed in a bunch of dirt. I’ve run numerous trail races but I’ve never seen as much dirt in the air as I did here. I now understood the people I saw with Buffs over their face at the start- they knew. Other than that, we had a decent downhill and then we on to the single track. And the first person to fall in front of me hit the dirt. He rolled well and was up and running before I could finish my question if he was ok.
Mile 2-15:17 There was some climb here and I still couldn’t breathe properly but the main slow down was the out and back. We were running super narrow single track and it was and out and up then down and back. Those going up slammed to a stop numerous times to let the runners coming down through. We were doing the best we could but we kept bottle necking. And the second person took a tumble.
Mile 3-4- 14:58, 15:12 I still couldn’t breathe. I loved the downhill and I loved the scenery of the canyons as we were running. We came out of the canyon and started the climb that would break me. Oh, did I mention we ran through the darkest tunnel ever??
Mile 5- 18:06 I have never stopped during a race before, and I have run some doozy trail races. I stopped a few times going up this climb because I could not breathe and I felt like my heart was going to pound out of my chest. My only consolation was that I was not the only one struggling. Everyone around me was hiking and I wasn’t the only one coughing.
Mile 6- 17:20 Are we ever going to stop climbing?!! The woman next to let a few f-bombs fly when we reached a false summit. I agree. I ran all the downhills and struggle bus’ed the climbs and stopped a few more times. Passed an adorable orange haired boy doing the 5K and he cheered me on. So cute! Then we were down near the rocks again and I was walking to the finish. I maybe jogged 20 yards at the end?
Slowest 10k ever! I crossed the line wheezing and tired.
But the medal made me smile and the hot coffee being served made me want to jump for joy.
I would do this race again for sure, just maybe a little healthier and with my face covered in the beginning. Plus for all the roadblocks this race organization hit, they did a remarkable job adapting on the fly. Like water- their original water provider couldn’t get to the race due to the fire but they had plenty of bottles on hand at the finish and the 2 aid stations on the course seemed well stocked. Also, other my lungs, my body handled all the ups and downs well, I was only a little sore in my calves the next day. Oh and somehow in my struggle up the hill in mile 4, I landed in the top 10 in Strava segments. Yeah right!
Also I didn’t mean to only post one blog post last week, the week flew by oddly fast.
I only worked 2 days before starting my first real vacation of the year. It was also my birthday so a few more indulgences may have occurred than normal. My stomach chose to remind me of it’s asshat ways on a few occasions and I also had a fun migraine try to join the birthday party.
I also may have gotten a little creative with my training plan. First by liberally rearranging things and then taking some creativity with certain runs. Then came the heat advisory. Hey, when life gives you lemons, right?
Monday- 2 miles up/down, 4x 800 at 5k pace/ Nailed it Speedwork on a Monday is a little different. I headed to the lake so I didn’t have intersections to worry about. Why haven’t I done this before? For once it was nice to nail the pace for all of the 800’s. Could I have run faster? Yes, but maintaining it was not likely.
Tuesday- 1.5 miles/ 1.5 miles Easy, not so breezy miles.
Wednesday- 1.5 miles/ 4ish mile trail run First day of vacation and my rearranged week was already taking hits. Instead of my long run, I headed down to SLO for some shopping and ended the day by hitting a trail. Have absolutely no complaints about time spent in the dirt with ocean views.
Thursday -10 miles/ sick I started to get sick on Wednesday evening and it was downhill from there. Unless a 2.5 hour naps counts as training, I did nothing.
Friday- .5 mile warmup, 6 mile tempo/ 5.5 ish meltdown Birthday!! I admit I slept in a bit- it was my birthday, why not? It was still early my standards but it wasn’t enough. I managed 1 mile at tempo pace before I spectacularly blew up. It was 80* with 50% humidity and I was not handling it. At all. I all but crawled the next few miles and cut the run short by a mile.
Then it was time for a cold shower and off to birthday lunch.
Saturday- 10 miles redux/ migraine city A migraine moved in Friday and took up residence. I tried my best to deal with it in my usual ways but ending up taking one of the heavy duty pain pills in the evening. My neurologist will be so proud. It did level my vision so yay!
Sunday- How many times can I type 10 miles?/ 8+ mile trail run Still in the midst of a heat advisory, I figured heading south would be my best bet for the run. I had my mom and S along for the ride- I love this trail but it has given me some creepy vibes in the past. This way they could hike and I could run and at least they would only be few miles behind me. I underestimated the heat. By mile 4 I was feeling it. I don’t think I’ve ever been so sweaty in my life, it was gross and it was hard. So hard. I relished the break I got at the top while I waited for them to catch up. I was so looking forward to the run down but the heat had gotten to me, the return down was more of a jog/walk and a lament as to where all the shade had gone.
So 23.83 miles for the week. Plan called for 26.5, oops. Still, it could be worse and I can’t complain about any week where I get to run on the trails twice.