Training Week 2/24/2014-3/2/2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Monday marked the beginning of my "full-time" student teaching and with it a reduced energy level that made getting out the door everyday this week a struggle with the exception of Saturday - more on that later.  I suppose it's fair to say that I have a fear that when I begin teaching this fall, I'll struggle getting out for runs and lose the fitness I've worked so hard to achieve over the past couple years.  However, I think about the many people I know and look up to that have full-time jobs and still train and run at a very high-level and tell myself that if they can do it, I CAN do it!  At the end of the week, I still managed to log 61 miles in roughly 9 hours of running!  Here's how it unfolded:

Monday: 6.5, 230' 1hr
With Rudy recovering from Mt. Cheaha, Mike Jones recovering from Mt. Mitchell, and most of the other folks missing, the Monday evening Ultra VT group run was fairly tame compared to previous weeks.  It was really an "old guy" run as Mike and Darren split off after 3 miles or so leaving Robbie, Jordan, and I to bring up the average age of the group run and have "old man" talk.  For some reason, I wasn't feeling a burrito and opted to pass on my usual post Ultra VT group run Moe's Monday.  I know, I know; I'm a disgrace to Moe's Foursquare Mayors all over.


Tuesday: Rest
Tuesday is now my usual rest day and I observed it this week.  I'm not really too sure what happened on Tuesday - the week was a total blur.

Wednesday: 9.6, 440' 1.25hr
I stayed after school for a professional development seminar and when I did finally get home I debated whether to run or to choose the easy excuse to say "I'm too tired" to get out and run.  I thought about what Dr. Horton told us during the pre-race meeting before Holiday Lake, "The five minute rule: if you do something for five minutes it's often easier to keep going than it is to stop.  If you get out for a run in the cold weather it's easier to keep running then get dressed for the cold weather to only run five minutes" and used this to get me out the door on my run.  The loop I did is one of my "go-to get in 8 or more miles" loops in Blacksburg.  I had told Michelle to meet me at Moe's at 6, which meant that my run wasn't limited by my willingness to get miles in but rather "how many miles can I run and not be late."  I arrived at Moe's at 5:59 and then stretched quickly before grabbing dinner with my best friend :-)


Thursday: CELEBRATE!
Well...Thursday was AWESOME!  I should've gone out for a run but I came home in such a great mood after training to be a substitute teacher for Montgomery County and on-campus interviews that I decided I wanted to just sit around and enjoy the moment.  I suppose this is a bit cryptic and for now that will have to do but I saw something on Instagram this week that sums up how I feel, (filtered version)"Good things come to those who wait GO OUT AND MAKE THINGS HAPPEN!"  I did not plan to have two rest days this week and consequently ended up a bit short on volume but what I missed out on in terms of volume by taking the extra day off I more than made up for in attitude!

Friday: 7.2, 730' 1hr
Friday followed suit with the rest of the week and I told myself I would go out and get 5, 6, or 7 miles in depending on how I felt.  I have two options when I leave my apartment complex in terms of what direction I want to go; both lead downhill.  I choose to head down toward the valley knowing that regardless of the route I took I would eventually have to climb back up the hill.  I felt pretty good for most of the run but around 4 miles my stomach started to let me know it wasn't happy with my choice to eat an apple before my run.  Coincidently, I listened to a Podcast on Saturday that discussed this very issue, eating an apple prior to a run, something I will NEVER do again.  I think I've done this before and didn't learn my lesson...this time I did.  Although I didn't have to stop and empty the contents of my bowels in a yard...I nearly had to and wound up walking the last 1/2 mile home.  Sometimes you just have those runs...which hopefully do not involve the runs.

Friday marked the end of February and my highest mileage month of running - ever.  I logged 238 miles, or a little over 2.5 times what I did in 2013.  However, what's even more impressive as I look at the numbers between 2013 and 2014 is that in January alone, after taking the first 8 days of the month off, I logged more time running than I did January and February combined in 2013.  I feel strong and seeing the benefits of putting in 6, 7, or 8 hours of running on the weekend is totally worth the pain in the moment.


Saturday:  21.5, 1950' 3.25hr
Creek that parallels Ellett Rd going down into the valley.
On Saturday morning, I got up early, ate breakfast, and headed out for a long run down in the valley.  I had scoped out a run using the course feature on Garmin Connect but didn't know how long the trails were at my destination.  I was meeting Michelle's dad, Marvin, to grab lunch before the basketball game at 2:30, which meant that I needed to back at my place and ready to leave by 1PM.  I set out around 9 and headed down into the valley via Ellett Road, which gave me roughly 3:30 hours to run before I needed to get back and clean up for the game.  I was excited to try out my new vest that had arrived on Friday from RunningWarehouse that was an exchange for the AK vest I had returned after wearing once on a training run on the Holiday Lake course.  

Structurally sound?  I think not.
The issue with the AK vest, aside from the lack of storage, was that my ribs were sore for days after wearing it for one 16 mile training run because of how the bottles sat on ribcage.  I decided to give the Scott Jurek vest, also made by Ultimate Direction, a try because unlike the AK vest it comes in three sizes (sm, med, and lg) and I fell right in the middle of the medium whereas I was at the high end of a small and low end of a large for the AK vest.  The vest works SO WELL!  Last year, I talked about running motivation in a blog post and that sometimes a new piece of gear can serve as the little needed additional motivation to get out the door for a run.  This vest did that and more; it has me itching to get out for more long run adventures!  

Eventually, I made my way out to Falls Ridge Preserve (mile 8.5), protected by The Nature Conservancy, and decided that I had enough time to go explore the trails.  There are really only two trails out there, both are "lollipop" style trials with the first that you arrive at being a 1.5 mile loop and other, the Bradley Trail, branches off the first loop and goes up to a peak to make for a total of about 3.5 miles of trail.

About 100 feet in you come to this awesome waterfall, I took some video with my phone and uploaded it to Instagram during the run!
 

There are lots of water features out there along the trail and the conservancy website lists the falls at 80'.  I didn't see anyone else out on the trail and the quiet and remoteness was needed after a long and busy week.  The Bradley Trail, which is the lollipop that winds around a peak called Mill Knob, reaches just over 2000'.  Upon leaving Falls Ridge Preserve, I knew that I had about 9 miles left and around two hours until Marvin would be picking me up.  The run home along Lusters Gate was pretty uneventful and although I've ridden that section of road many times on a bicycle, I was able to appreciate the beauty of the valley in a new way running it.  The last bit of the run is climbing out of the valley up the "Blacksburg Infamous" Harding Road climb.  It. Stinks.  At the end of the run, I had managed to log 21 miles in a little over 3 hours and put a solid dent into my weekend volume.


Sunday: 16.4, 600' 2.25hr
Sunday marked the 29th running of the Blacksburg Classic, which I ran last year but opted to not run this year.  Instead, Michelle and I went and watched and cheered on several of our friends who were running.

In order to be able to watch the race Sunday afternoon, I had to get up and out the door early again on Sunday for another longish run.  I was shooting for 15.1 miles to make it an even 60 for the week but when I got out to the new and recently paved section of the Huckleberry Trail I decided I would just go a little further.  I ended my run at Chipotle, a decision I immediately regretted because I had to lug it back up the hill...that I walked instead of ran.  I got home a few minutes after 12 and we were out the door by 12:45 headed down to the start of the race.

The start of the 29th Annual Blacksburg Classic!
There were 5 folks from the Ultra VT that were running including Jordan and Kristen Chang, Guy, Rachel, and Alex.  I also saw a bunch of other folks out there including two of my professors and Gef who I ran with on my long run last Sunday.  We brought Gillie along and Michelle took photos while I Vuvuzela'd the runners as they went by.  It was pretty awesome!

Jordan Chang looking strong on the first of two downtown loops!

Guy Love and Geffrey Moy (left) and Kristen Chang (right) completing loops 1 of 2.

Much heckling occurred!

Probably my favorite shot of the day - Michelle did a great job!

Michelle and our wild little one!

More heckling!

Jordan took 2nd overall!

Guy Love and Geffrey Moy finished 5th and 7th respectively.

Good times were had by all!



Totals for the week:
Distance: 61.3
Elevation: 3945'
Duration: 8:46

It was another strong week of training and I'm feeling confident with the back-to-back runs I've been putting together on the weekends.  As of posting this, Umstead 100 is 31 days away!  I am simultaneously excited and nervous.
100 miles isn't that far.  ~Karl Meltzer

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