Millersylvania 50K Training – Last Few Weeks

Week 4 was mostly a good week. Monday was a holiday, so I was able to do my run during daylight. I ran at Chamna; I mostly followed the route of the Kim’s Bad Knee 5K. The beauty of Chamna is that I may never get bored with the trails because there’s so much variety. Tuesday’s run was a five mile steady-pace run. Because it was dark, I ran Badger Flats. It’s a half-mile loop, so five miles meant running in circles – my favorite! I didn’t want to do that run, but it was a good run. I checked my heart recovery rate – 35%. Not bad!

Wednesday was supposed to be a cardio workout, but I made it a rest day. We took Spike to the vet for diagnostic imagining, and results were that she most likely has lymphosarcoma. (We opted out of the biopsy, as that was only necessary if we were planning to pursue aggressive chemotherapy. Spike is seventeen, frail, and going to the vets creates emotional distress. Chemo would mean subjecting her to stress in the hopes of getting an extra year or so. We can’t do that to her.) I decided this needed to be a rest day because I wanted to drink beer & eat pizza & cuddle with Spike. It was worth it.

I was heading to Whidbey Island for the final week of January. I moved Friday’s workout to Saturday and intended to snowshoe at Lake Wenatchee State Park on my drive to the island. Alas, as I drove through Leavenworth it was raining, and while it later started snowing the snow was really wet & heavy. I decided to drive past Lake Wenatchee and switch my workout back to a run & run on the island.

That workout was pyramid intervals. I wanted a relatively flat track on which to run the intervals, so I headed for South Whidbey State Park. I warmed up by climbing up to the ridge and then ran back & forth along the ridge. This was my first real workout in this training plan, and it went well. I could have set my interval pace a little faster.

The next workout was five miles, easy pace. The calendar said “okay to walk or hike.” I headed for the trails in the Kettles at Fort Ebey State Park. My plan was to power hike up the inclines, and that was a great choice. Millersylvania is pretty flat, but a few of the races I’m doing during training have long climbs. During this workout, my hamstrings were expressing their discomfort during some of the climbs.

Week 4, Day 1 was a “steady pace” run. I wanted to run more at Fort Ebey, but Fort Ebey’s trails are a roller coaster & I could not have kept up a steady pace. I decided to try to keep my heart rate above 130 bpm. It mostly worked. This hike was supposed to be eight miles, but it ended up being six. I got a late start, and I was in the dark the last hour. I’d left my good running flashlight in the truck – on the charger! – and my back-up flashlight just isn’t as good. I didn’t want to risk the back-up flashlight dying on me & having to use my phone’s flashlight to get back to the truck.

Week 4 was a recovery week. I kind of screwed things up by doing the steady pace run, but I did the rest of the recovery well. The final workout was on Saturday: 5-6 miles, easy. It was everything an easy run should be! I felt fluid. I felt like I could have gone faster and farther. I didn’t, but I had to rein myself in. It was delightful. It was at place I’d never run – Rhododendron County Park – and it was so fun I’ve already gone back there to run.

Week five started with a steady-pace run. I returned to Badger Flats. I could feel myself waning toward the end. I haven’t been adding nutrition on these shorter runs, but anything longer than five miles I think I should. I was supposed to do three miles at easy pace the next day. It’s still getting dark early — I have a Tribe Core class from 4:30-5:30 Tuesday & Thursday afternoons, and it was dark when I left the club — but I couldn’t bear the idea of running around Badger Flats six times. I headed up the newest trail at Badger. It was pretty slow, but I have to take my easy-pace runs easy so I can go hard on the other workouts.

The next day’s workout was hill pyramids: warm up, two minutes up, two minutes down, four minutes up, four minutes down, two minutes up, two down, four up, four down, then cool down. I decided to walk up instead of jogging back down as I was hoping to take the Sagebrush Trail all the way to the top. It was a good workout overall – another reminder of why I need to go easy when it’s an easy-pace run.

Friday’s run was an 8-mile steady-pace run. Spike had a vet appointment at 9:00 a.m., so I didn’t go into work until after her appointment. That gave me time to do this run in the morning, which worked out very well as we drove to Whidbey that afternoon. I went to Chamna and started my workout at 6:00 a.m. It was still quite dark, so I ran along the almost-straight main trail at first – BORING! The trail was flooded in spots, and there’s a tree down over one of the short trails. I did this run with 4:1 intervals with pace settings of 9:00-13:00/mile and 15:00-18:00/mile. It ends up being a good way to get in steady pace over a longer distance. I warmed up for ten minutes and cooled down for five, and my overall pace came in at around 15:00/mile. I’ll need to get faster to comfortably finish a 50K within eight hours, but so far I’m pleased with my progress.

Saturday’s run was five miles “as you like it.” I returned to Rhododendron County Park. My glutes were tired but not sore. I ran almost all of this with the exception of the pavement. I’m pleased with that, as this is when I need to start running on tired legs to get my body used to it. The week was capped off with a leisurely stroll with The Hubs along the Columbia River at Desert Aire. I mentioned that I was going to stop there for a walk, and he asked if I wanted him to join me. I would have been a little quicker without him, but it was nice to go for a walk with my husband.

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