Logging High Training Mileage:
January was a moderately-sized mileage month. I was hoping for over 300 miles but ended just over 285. Not ideal, but December was over 300 so maybe I needed the rest. I gained a few pounds and I am not thrilled about that.
To get back on track, I made a concerted effort to run more. However, what I found was that even though I am a little heavier, my running feels easier at training paces. I feel too heavy for racing paces so this is clearly not my optimum weight, but after the last three days of high mileage I am pleased with my ability to run far and feel good.
I run a lot of doubles and sometimes triples to get to high mileage without injury. I would like to work on keeping the doubles, but growing the length of one of the run, making the double feel more optional and recovery-paced only. Looking back over my log, Thursday and Friday I managed over 13 miles. Saturday I started with a 15.3 mile Team in Training Run, then ran 6 more on my own only later to be invited by Sidney to run with him and Enzo for another 5 giving me over 26.3 for the day, Saturday.
As for today (Sunday), previously I invited Alanna, Dave, and Kathleen to join me for a long double-digit warm up before a cheap 5k club race and then a few miles of cool-down. I hoped for 20 miles by the end of the day. 16 miles would hold me at 90 miles for the last 7 days. So 16-20 miles was my goal.
Eleven Miles of Warm Up! What? :)
We got started about 7:30 am and Alanna as our fearless Sherpa, lead us through the streets of Freehold and the dirt packed, snow covered roads of Turkey Swamp Park. We logged about 11 miles and Oh Boy were my legs tired. I felt like a slug but I had logged a lot the day before and I was purposefully training depleted (with minimal fuel) for my own good reasons. This made the easy pace feel hard.
We got back to the park and I had brought a some clothes to change into while in my car. I needed to get out of my heavy winter layers and into something more race friendly. I wanted to try my Brooks Drifts in shorter race to see if I still love them as much as I did in the half (OMG, do I!). They are a really comfortable shoe and I actually didn't even change out of them for my cool down.
Being in lighter clothes, with still a sweaty sports bra on under it all, in 25 degrees made me feel so cold. I was so ready to just get in my car and drive home. But I already dropped the hefty $5 race fee for the race so there was no turning back now!
FARC 5k Race and Spontaneous Pacing of a Super Star in the Making!
Dave and I head up front. Alanna and Kathleen decide to move back. It was small club run. I just wanted some fast mileage after a ton of slow training. I am focusing my thought on Caumsett where I would like to run faster than 4:10. I need to be comfortable running sub-8's and as deep into the 7's as possible in order to run well. I need to be able to sustain that. Running faster than 7 on tired legs should help me.
I had logged 37+ miles in the 27 hours prior to this race, so my body was sufficiently pummeled and running fast was going to feel very hard. We took off and I tried to move, but my legs felt like limp spaghetti especially as I worked the pace down under 7:00. Within the first quarter mile, I had to slow down as I started to worry that I might actually pull something running too fast while too tired in too cold air.
At some point just past the mile mark, a young girl in a bright pink cruised up next to me. As she began to overtake me she offered some incredibly kind words often not heard uttered by young teenagers in the mist of competition. She politely said "Come with me. Let's do this together!" OMG! My heart melted right there. What a sweetheart.
My response: "Oh no. I can't. But you go without me. I ran a lot yesterday and I am pretty much toast." We were hovering at close to 6:55 instant pace at that point after a bit of a faster start. I hoped to pick up my pace over the distance running this 5k as a Progression run. Secretly I was hoping to catch back up to Dave, who pulled significantly ahead of me from about .25 into this thing. After the girl pulled ahead, either she faded or I started to reel her back in as I speed up.
As I caught back up to her, we were moving up an incline and I could hear her working for it. We settled in together and I offered some encouragement back. I generally do not offer race advice in the midst of a race, but I felt compelled to assess whether she could or was even interested in talking to me. We exchanged names. She asked how far I ran yesterday. I told her I ran over a marathon in mileage. She did a double take. Since she asked some questions first, I asked her what her PR was. Like a true racer she said "On this course, I run about 21:30 -21:40." I loved that. She didnt give her all time PR. She gave relevant useful data. (This race is a weekly series and she has run there the last 4 weeks consistently in that range). However, being that we were about 6:53, sub 7 min miles was unlikely to get her a PR. For some reason, I suddenly wanted to see her do amazing.
Stride by stride we ran, as I purposefully pushed down our pace down from 6:50... to 6:40... just to see when she faltered... i noticed at 6:41 she would start to breath hard right before letting up off the throttle a lot. She was all or nothing (kind of like me).
But we were at 2 miles now. I slowed down a bit while encouraging her back up to me. I asked her to focus on just getting to 2.5 and worry about the rest later. She was tough, she dug down and caught up. I told her just abt 1 mile left. Stride for stride we ran. I talked about hugging the tangents and not giving away her hard work. I shared some thoughts about not fighting so hard to work the uphills, but rather to let the natural slow down happen while planning to make it all up on the down hills.
We hit 2.5 and I let her know that if she stayed strong she was getting a PR. She didnt say much but seemed to respond and appreciate that data. She pushed our pace, but then would fade a little, but always came back from it. We were at 6:40 pace as we approached 2.8 miles and I asked her if she has a kick. She honestly said "Sometimes." I liked that. She was a good judge of herself. I really wanted her to kick. I wanted her to kick past me in the last .10. I wanted her to finish strong and have a good memory of the race experience. I didn't want to push her so hard that she blew up before she could drop her speed.
As we hit the last cone, we were running 6:36 pace. I told her she was running great. She responded by picking it up. My watch beeped for 3 miles and I advised that we were now running 6:24's, we had only a 10th to go and it is time to GO! I kicked and she was right with me. Stride for stride, but about half way to the finish she let up and let me go. I thought she was going dig deep and blast by me into the shoot. But she did not.
I crossed 21:03 and she was 21:05. She PR's on this course by about 30 seconds! I was so incredibly happy for her. She made me forget how tired I was by giving me a focus. I learned just how much fatigue is truly a state of mind.
We did a short cool down together and I asked her if she would ever run a marathon. I loved her answer. She didnt say "Oh boy, that is SO far!" or "I don't know if I can!" Instead, she said very matter of factly, "I am too young. I am only 15." I let her know that ultras let 15 year old in. :)
At the end of the race, they called the overall leader names. My name was announced as 2nd Female. She was 3rd. I was in the back talking to (a different Dave). The girl was closer to the front. She could have walked up on her own and got her applause. But she didn't. She waited, she looked for me, and gave me a HUGE smile and a High-5 as we walked up together to get our wool hats prizes and our photo taken together.
I logged about 16.1 miles at the race with warm up and cool down. I got home and once again Sid was waiting for me to go for a run. He, Enzo and I logged 4.5 more at the park. It was so cold that Enzo's fur got covered in dirty icicles by the end of the run. (He didn't even seem to notice!) I got my 20.5 for the day!
Looking back, I am in pleased with the mileage I have run in the last few day. I am doing it while feeling relatively strong in comparison to how I have felt at other high mileage weeks. It is a gift when running feels this way.
400 days running since 2012 = 3800.5 miles for an average of 9.5 per day
In the past 4 days I have logged 73.2 miles.
In the month Feb (past 3 days) I have logged 60.2 miles
In the last 2 days I logged 46.9
In the 5k (after 37+ miles): 21:03 (6:47)
2nd Female in a tiny club race
Awesome experiencing witnessing a kind young girl run her heart out in the cold.
Thank you for reading!