Monday, October 26, 2015
Last 5 Weeks in Review
This period began with a couple of light weeks between races. Or so I thought. The first week was post-Pisgah. According to Strava, I did four days in a row of Mixes. Then on the Friday I did a trail workout in Ryan Park on the easiest of trails, copying some of my frenemies' workouts on track or pavement: 3M, 2M, 1M with l minute rest. I used my dreaded GPS watch for the mileage, so I assume all intervals were long: 17:54, 12:07, 6:01. This was really tough, but a confidence booster of sorts. The next week was supposed to end with the Nipmuck Trail Marathon. I just couldn't get motivated for this thing. I prepared like I was racing, but knew that I was going to bail. Sunday morning came, and instead of the race it was a Woolley send off run in Carter Preserve with Muddy. Cheers mate!
After lollygagging the final two weeks of September, I got my butt in gear in October. Lots of time on feet, and believe me, my feet have noticed. The first week included my epic mountain adventure with Galoob. Read about it here if you haven't. I also raced the first ever trail version of the Run for the Pumpkins 5K. This was the brainchild of Jeff, who did a ton of work to make this happen. You can read more about it here. I previewed the course when I helped mark it pre-race. Jeff did a great job creating this course: uphill on easy trails first mile, twisty/techy mile 2, fast easy trail mile 3, with fast field finish. It was a great morning and a lot of people showed up. My race went okay. I was dealing with leftover leg fatigue from the mountains, including a "crampy" right calf. I just tried to pretend I was normal. Matthew W jumped into the race at the last minute, which was a surprise. Other contenders were Muddy, Brightman, Jeff, and FiveK. I ran with the lead pack around the field and was 3rd entering the woods. As the trail climbed, I felt like Brightman (leading) was slowing down a bit. I made the quick decision to hammer to the lead and push this hill. It seemed like my best shot of winning. I held the lead up the hill. The terrain finally leveled off and I felt tired. Footsteps were getting closer as we passed the first mile marker. Soon Brightman and Matthew went by me. Mentally I was defeated and didn't try to hold on. Then Muddy went by before entering the twisty pine singletrack section. Again I just settled. I kept the gap consistent in the pines however. On a switchback, I saw Jeff chasing me down. This was the push I needed. I worked harder through the pines and then tried to hammer the easier downhill mile 3. I seemed to get some distance on Jeff, but wasn't seeing anyone ahead of me until near the end of the woods. Muddy was in view, but I couldn't close the gap. Once on the field, the spacing continued to stay the same. I finished up in 20:39. Matthew won in 19:52, followed by Brightman 20:13, and Muddy 20:26. Jeff was 20:50. Despite being not my best race, the event itself was a huge success. Kudos to Jeff!
The last two weeks I spent a ton of time in the woods. I've been exploring new trails in Big River, and also making sure to mix in hilly days. After the Pumpkins race, I really wanted to begin speedwork, but I was too tired to do it. I finally gave it a shot last Wednesday on the Quonset Bike Path. The newer section of path is marked by quarter miles. I decided the shorter the better for me, so I opted for 400s. These were tough! I ended up doing 6 repeats (with 400 recoveries): 74/72/73/73/75/75. I had to stop the 400s and switch to something slower. I opted to do 2 x 1 mile at T pace (with a 3 minute recovery between): 5:46/5:47. These felt pretty good. Overall, I was happy to get this done. I'd like to do 10-12 reps of 400 next time.
So that's where things are. I've got two trail races lined up: Busa Bushwhack 10 Mile on 11/1, and Li'l Rhody Runaround on 11/15. I'm feeling good about my training going into these. We'll see.