The Next HM Looms….

I’ve  learned another valuable lesson.

In twelve days, I’ll be returning to the Multnomah Falls Trail Run. Six days after that, I’ll be running my second half-marathon. Multnomah Falls is about six miles, with 1800′ of elevation gain and loss. (It’s straight up, and then straight back down.) The Leavenworth half-marathon is pretty flat.

So, which is more important: bettering my trail run time, or my HM time? The week prior to my first half-marathon, I ran Badger Mountain (a little longer, 1000′ elevation gain & loss); I found it to be an excellent last long run before the race. I thought this was a good idea – use Multnomah Falls as my last training run before Leavenworth – but it created a bit of a conundrum.

I will not podium at either race. I came in fourth from last at Multnomah Falls last year, second in my age group – out of three, even! – and 27th among women. I ran the last HM in 2:59:07 – a couple of marathoners, who’d started at the same time, passed me at mile 13. While I believe I’ve prepared better this time around, I am no threat to the leaderboard in Leavenworth.

I had to decided which race matters more to me. While my next big challenge will be a trail 50 km, I’ve decided the half-marathon gets priority. I haven’t done as much trail running, and I’ve practiced power hiking up just once in the past few months. I plan to treat Multnomah Falls as a trail run, not a race. Not every race gets to be an “A” race, and not every result is a PR.

I do believe I’m better prepared for the half-marathon. The 10-week training plan I use doesn’t have any “run on tired legs” workouts. I added those in. (At the first HM, I was pretty weary come mile twelve.) Recognizing that running on tired legs is critical, I’ve become more disciplined in doing those workouts even when my legs balk at the task.

The down side is that I missed the first two weeks of training, and I’m not sure how that will affect me overall. I went out for a ten-mile run last Friday. I walked the first mile, and I had a difficult time settling on a run/walk ratio. In short, work-day workouts, I did several 15-minute tempo step-ups (at least a 12:00-mile), followed by five minutes walks. I decided to try this on longer runs: run a mile, walk five minutes.

I suspect there isn’t enough time for my body to adapt to running 13.1 miles using that ratio at 12:00/mile. I wanted to try it on last Friday’s run, but I couldn’t decide on an appropriate pace. Regardless, at mile 6.5, I decided I was done. My feet hurt. I didn’t feel good. I still got in nearly ten miles, as I had to walk back to my starting point.

This worried me a bit, but there are a lot of contributors I shouldn’t discount. The bunion on my right foot was hurting. I’d taped it, and I think running with that tape on bothered me. I’d really pushed myself in the previous week or so, and I suspect my legs were more tired than I realized. I knew I was going in to a rest week, but perhaps I needed to start my recovery a little earlier. I also feared my shoes were worn out, but I only have about 130 miles on them. (I usually get about 300 miles on these running shoes.)

I’m heading to Leavenworth for work this week, and then I’ll head over to Whidbey Island to visit my parents. There’s an 11-mile run on this week’s calendar. I want to get some work done at my parents’ house, and if I go for an 11-mile run Saturday morning I’ll be wiped out and probably useless. I mapped out a run in Leavenworth that largely mimics the race course, with a detour for a 500′ hill climb halfway into the run. (I’m gonna hate myself for that!) Because we’re down to about 13 hours of daylight, and because that 11-mile run will likely take me four hours, I’m most likely going to do it Thursday morning, even if it means skipping part of the training I’m supposed to be attending. I can potentially do it upon my arrival in Leavenworth, but I really need the ethics CLE credits, and I’d need to be back – and clean – by 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. If I can have everything planned and ready to go this evening, and get out of the house early enough Wednesday morning (it’s a three-hour drive), this is an option. It’s just really unlikely to happen. (Doing it Thursday morning also give me the chance to start a run in the chill of morning and adjust layers. And I’ll get to wear my cool new jacket. BONUS!)

I thought about bringing my mountain bike and stopping at the Iron Goat trail along Highway 2 while en route Whidbey. Not sure how good of an idea that is, as the legs will be tired. But leaving Leavenworth at noon-ish puts me into the thick of I-5 Friday afternoon traffic and the line for the ferry. I’d rather kill a few hours having fun and arrive later. I’ll just have to play it by ear and see how my legs do. And since I’m doing my long run on Thursday, my legs have all weekend to recover.

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