Yup. Week five is in books and nineteen more weeks lie ahead of me. Thus far, I’m feeling really good about this.
Historically, week four is always the roughest for me. It doesn’t matter what we’re talking about: diet, academic semesters, fitness classes, training programs – it’s all the same. Week one, I’m excited. Week two, I’m less enthusiastic, but things are still good. Week three, I start making excuses and motivation flags. Week four, the wheels come off. Not this time.I haven’t missed a single workout. (I’ve sandbagged a few, but I’ve done them.) I haven’t ignored a 5 a.m. alarm in the interest of getting an extra hour of sleep. I’ve even woken up at 5:15 when I hadn’t set an alarm. I’ve run in the rain, the wind, mud. I’ve run before dawn, at my lunch hour, and after dark.
I ran Candy Mountain Friday. I’m still slow, but my pace was :40/mile faster. That’s over a two-week period. I felt more confident running it, too. On the north side of Candy, where the terrain is extremely steep and the rocks are loose, my feet slid out from underneath me and I ended up on my rump. I didn’t panic, and I came down in a fairly controlled manner and popped right back up.
Mile seven was the hardest. My feet were sore. I knew the distance back to the truck wouldn’t get me to eight miles, but I really wanted to quit. I didn’t. On Dallas Road, headed back to the Badger Mountain trailhead, I forced my legs to run. It was a slow, shuffling run that may have actually been a walk. I walked up the access road – it’s a steeper grade that the trail. It was tough! I think I may have been whimpering. I misjudged the turn-around spot, so my mileage was a little short of the eight miles I’d intended to run. I’m glad I forced myself to do that extra half-mile.
I recently read about a guy who ran an unsupported 100km or 100 mile trail run. One of the training tactics he used was running by his car at the trailhead. It was mental training: when we approach the trailhead, our brains think “Yay! I’m done!” I think that added to my misery walking up the access road. I hope to add this little trick to my training routine.
I’m now in the phase when I start running on tired legs. After running Candy Friday, Saturday was a 5-mile run. The calendar said I could run it at an easy pace or a steady pace, depending on how my body felt. Because I had plans to meet a friend at 8:00 a.m. to drive to a conference in Yakima, I got up at 5 a.m. to do this run. ON A SATURDAY! I set a goal of running it at steady pace. It took me a while to get there. I ended up with an average pace of 13:34/mile – the fast end of my easy pace. Since Jane was driving, I used the time to work on my quads & my right IT band with a massage ball. I think it helped, because my legs feel pretty good.
Today’s workout was a 2-mile easy pace run. I debated making this a rest day and moving the run to tomorrow, but I decided to stick to the plan. I woke up at 6 a.m., but I decided against going for an early run. I think I’ve earned a leisurely breakfast.
I decided that instead of running, I’d use the rebounder and run in place while watching the Seahawks game. While I can’t get my heartrate up using the rebounder, it’s a decent alternative in this situation.
Tomorrow is a rest day. I’m looking forward to it. I hope to do some foam rolling and stretching. I ran 27 miles this week; next week, I’ll run 31.
I’ve been eating too much over the last several days. I really need to get that back under control. Other than that, I’m feeling really good. I’m motivated and confident. I’m getting faster and stronger, and I know I can do this.