My body definitely feels like I put in a lot of miles this week but it seems kid of surreal at the same time. Like, how did that just happen?
I hit 76.5 this week — by far the most mileage I’ve seen since probably fall 2009. There’s a large physical and emotional investment being made in this training cycle, and I’ll have a chance to see if it’s paying off this coming weekend at the Indy Women’s Half Marathon. (Got an email from the race director this week that I’ve got an elite bib; excited to see some of my PBT teammates and hopefully run fast!)
With the Monday holiday, I was able to start later and picked up my friend Rebekah for part of the run, an easy 10 miler. We had a busy weekend so I had a lot of errands to do that morning, and then we spent the afternoon packing/cleaning out our guest bedroom and master closet to start prepping our condo for sale. We have so much stuff crammed in the condo that it’s about to pop.
Tuesday I had a workshop that started early so I didn’t really have time to get my speed work in before that, so I ended up on the treadmill after work. I just started rewatching Covert Affairs, one of my favorite television shows ever, so the treadmill wasn’t really punishment. (Punishment would’ve been doing this workout in the 98* heat index we had going on.) Being on the treadmill also help me dial in paces, which was perfect for this “gears” workout, mixing marathon pace, half marathon pace and about 10k pace.
Note: When you run 10 on Monday and 12 on Tuesday, those weekly miles start to add up fast!
Wednesday was a recovery 8.5, not a whole lot to note. However, I only got 6.5 hours of sleep which started some sort of trend for the week, and not one I liked. I taught Pilates that evening, starting a three-week series focused on the different rolling exercises in Pilates — rolling like a ball, straight leg and open leg rocker and seal.
Thursday I could not/did not get up in time to run before work. The sleep struggle is real! Thursday’s workout was brought to you by Hammer Nutrition’s new Fully Charged, a pre-exercise “igniter” that seems to really work. I get more pop and focus, and it really helps me on days like this when I’m feeling the afternoon slump but still have two hours of exercise to do. I taught Pilates Strength then hopped on the treadmill for 10 miles with 20 x 30 seconds on/60 seconds off. That’s a lot of counting! I actually wasn’t sure if I had done the right number until I looked at the heart rate monitor later. So yeah, 22 treadmill miles this week. It was so hot and humid outside.
Friday was a hot mess. I was supposed to meet Rebekah early but my phone was acting up and the alarm never went of. The universe’s way of telling me to get some more sleep (still only got 7 hours worth). Coach scheduled 6-8 miles for the day but I was really feeling the accumulated fatigue and the tight turnaround from Thursday evening’s workout to Friday morning’s. I called it at 6 miles.
That afternoon we headed to Morgantown — my gift to Chris for our anniversary was WVU football tickets.
This put me in an interesting position for my weekend long run. We were going to be there Saturday and Sunday, so I couldn’t just push the long run to Sunday. Chris opted to do his Thursday night, while the heat index was in the upper-90s, and it didn’t go particularly well.
I had done some research including talking to Olympic Trials marathon qualifier and recent WVU grad Clara Mae Santucci, and had a loose plan for where I could run Saturday morning. The game wasn’t until 2, so I didn’t even need to start super early. A major plus of Morgantown, and one I’m not sure I can fully rationalize, is that they have a massive rail-to-trail network. Not just Morgantown, either — it’s so extensive it spans multiple counties. However, I was going to have to carry water. I borrowed a vest from my friend and U.S. 100k Road National Champion Traci Falbo (post about her coming soon), but ended up not using it.
Chris ended up coming up with the best idea for the run. We parked at the university’s rec center, and took all our shower and game day stuff so we could just get ready there.
We headed out together for the first 4.5 miles, then he basically left me in the wilderness since he only had 9. Chris kept telling me the farther out I went, the hillier it would get and that the trail would turn to gravel (both things he was opposed to). So after we split, I originally thought I’d run out to 6-8 miles then come back and then go out on the other leg of the trail.
At about 5.75, the road turned to crushed gravel, and it had rained so it wasn’t dusty. It also started to go uphill. Around 3 miles later, I came through a trailhead area with a map, so I was able to get an elevation check and see how far out the trail would go. I was now thinking I’d run out to 8, then turn around, which would mean I could refill my water bottle (9 oz) at about mile 12.
But … the trail kept getting prettier and prettier, and I did keep going uphill but I knew I was going to get to come back down! Ferns, old trees, giant boulders … beautiful.
There weren’t a lot of people out but I don’t think I went much more than 10 minutes without seeing someone.
At 8, I decided I’d go out a little more. And then a little more.
At mile 10, I peed in the woods. Then I decided to run 1 more out, because if you run out 11, the only outcome is that you’re running 22.
Those last few miles outbound were gorgeous, pristine, barely touched wilderness.
I was starting to run low on water, but I felt fine as I started back down. Then my GI system really started to get upset. I had been fighting the bathroom urge and it hadn’t been intense, so I thought I would be fine until I get back to refill my water bottle.
Nope. If you’ve been a runner for any length of time, you know how these things go.
Around mile 12, I pulled a Meb. The stop, bend over, wait-it-out move. Went back to running. Stopped again.
Eventually, at 14, I pooped in the woods. Let me just say that the Nathan Quick Draw, with it’s water-shooting abilities, does in fact make for an efficient wilderness bidet.
Of course, there went some more of my dwindling water supply. Sigh.
But man, I felt so much better.
At 16, I ducked into a Wendy’s that backs up to a part of the trail through a more commercial area. I refilled my water bottle, drank it, refilled it again. I took a Hammer Gel here, too, thinking I’d probably be okay without it but the glycogen depletion brain fog hinders my directional and rationalizing capabilities, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t get lost going back into Morgantown. I had taken 2 Endurolyte caps at miles 5, 10 and 15, too. And now that I was finally at a bathroom, I no longer needed to use it!
I was pretending that I was only doing 20 as I did the countdown in my head, until I got to about 18. When I refilled my water bottle, I knew there was another fountain a couple of miles away, so I started using the water to help cool myself down, too — squeezing it over my chest and head. It was getting hot, and I wasn’t in the shaded woods any more.
Eventually I made it back to the Core Arboretum, where I got a little turned around. We had come down a really steep hill on our way out that bisected the arboretum straight down the middle. But I didn’t really want to run back up it, so I opted to go around the outside edge instead. Not only did I still have to go up the hill (I paused my watch and walked), but then I couldn’t figure out how to get back around where I needed. Fortunately I just had to find the Coliseum, which is pretty hard to miss. Then a quick jaunt through some tailgaters and back to the car.
Which wasn’t there.
Chris and I had discussed a couple of outcomes post-run, one of which included him taking the car to visit his friend nearby and leaving my bag at the rec center. This wasn’t my favorite option, but that’s what happened. While I was running, I realized I should’ve better organized my stuff in the car. I was so focused on the run itself and taking everything I needed for it that I didn’t think through the after part very well. I decided after we parked to use my handheld instead of the vest, and when I unpacked the vest I tossed my phone into the console. And I shut my purse in a covered part of the car so it wouldn’t be visible.
I didn’t tell Chris this, I realized late in the run. Possible, I thought, that he’ll text me our plan and realize my phone is still in the car.
Here I am, absolutely drenched and exhausted, in a rec center I’ve never been to (Chris, being an alum, was in familiar territory the entire time). The girl at the desk does in fact have my bag. She did not give great directions to the locker room, nor did the center really have any signage. I found it eventually but never found a towel.
At this point, I’ve run for 3 hours, I have a half-hour until we’re supposed to meet friends for lunch, and I’m in a strange locker room with no towel, no phone, no wallet or ID.
I speed-shower, use a spare tank as a towel, don’t worry about hair or makeup, make sure Chris isn’t waiting for me outside (a plausible scenario if he had found my phone), then use the front desk phone to call him.
“Is your phone not working?” – C
“You have my phone.” – me
“Oh.” – C
“And my wallet.” – me
“Oh.” – C
He picked me up and we were only 15 minutes late to lunch. We had a great time at the game, even though the heat index was around 94*. I didn’t know a place called “almost heaven” could feel so much like hell.
On Sunday, we drove over the MC Trail I had planned to start on for Saturday’s run. It’s a short trail in Fairmont that runs to Prickett’s Fort and features a 400-meter long tunnel. Then it connects to the Mon River Trail South — the leg I was going to run yesterday had I turned around sooner.
We did an easy out-and-back, also beautiful, along the river. It capped off a big week for me. My calves are both sore and I’ve got a twinge in my knee. It bothered me a little running today, but only at random times. It feels like maybe it had to do extra stabilizing on the gravel especially downhill. Hopefully a little attention to the knee tonight and it’ll be A-OK tomorrow, fingers crossed.
Totals: 76.5 miles, 2 Pilates classes taught.