After last week's 63 miles, I had a severe case of dead legs this week. I ran a little (4 miles, hating every step of it) on Tuesday, and then ran again Wednesday after work. Wednesday's run was actually a pretty good one, as I ran for about an hour and actually clipped off a couple sub-6 minute miles along the way. Thursday's run was a tempo 9 miles around town followed by a hill workout that I absolutely dreaded and cut short. My legs (specifically, my soleus muscles) were not happy to experience inclines again.
Considering all of that, I decided to approach today's long run with a "must complete" attitude. I had pretty much "tapered" for it throughout the week, so I wanted to get a decent trail run in. The plan was to run steady and easy for 2 hours, then pick up the pace for about 45 minutes, and then finish up with another hour of steady running on heavy legs. My last attempt at a long trail run was cut short by the heat and humidity...and the fact I used my car as my aid station made it far too easy for me to simply quit and drive away. Footfeather's comment has been in my head ever since that run, bothering me:
This workout yesterday taught you how to give up during a race. I know this from experience. Gut through it next Thurs..
It bothered me mostly because it was so true! And knowing that I wanted to make myself finish the run, I parked my car 8 miles away from where the majority of the run would take place. This would allow me to run the first hour 8 miles up to the Greenbush Picnic Area, then the next hour on an out and back from Greenbush, giving me my 2 hours of 'easy' running. At this point I would (hopefully) speed up the pace a bit on the Greenbush trails, before being forced to run another 8 miles back to the car. On my way to Butler Lake, where I parked, I left a cooler with water, SCaps, and Gels/ShotBloks at Greenbush. There. Now my aid station was nowhere near my car and I had no choice but to run/death march/crawl 8 miles back to my car.
The plan worked pretty well!
The first 8 miles from my car to Greenbush on the Ice Age Trail were exactly what my legs wanted. I had been running a bunch more on roads recently in anticipation of the Fox Cities Marathon in late September, and the trails are just flat out BETTER. I kept the pace easy and the HR low and arrived in Greenbush in a little over an hour.
A brief re-load of my water and I continued north on the Ice Age Trail for 4.65 miles before turning around and heading home. Still, the running was really easy and enjoyable.
Once I got back to Greenbush, I again switched out water bottles and ran a 5.1 mile loop. I had run over 2 hours at "easy" pace and now wanted to pick it up. This part got a little difficult, but I'm happy with a 7:31 average pace for my "tempo" part of the run. When I finished that loop I would have quit the run had my car been available. I was pissed at myself but at the same time happy with myself for parking 8 miles away. This part of the run was going to suck...most likely really suck...but I had no choice. I took my dear time at the Picnic Table Aid Station reload, gathered my thoughts, and off I went. According the Garmin, on this last leg of my run I only had a 10 minute/mile pace. While I definitely slowed down, that number is a little high because it includes the big break sitting at the picnic table. Overall, I ran 30.56 miles in 4:32. Not sure how I thought I'd only be running 25ish miles and 4 hours. Also not sure how smart it is to do a 30 mile training run when your peak event is 31 miles.
I really need to get better at taking in calories. I did well with ShotBloks and Gels for the first 2 hours, but after that they are simply barf-inducing to me. For the total run, I took in 4 SCaps, 3 gels and 8 ShotBloks. And the majority of that was in the first 2:30. I'm hoping that the aid stations at the North Face 50K have stuff that will look appealing to me, because I'm finding it VERY difficult to get enough calories from Gels and ShotBloks to keep going.
Any ideas out there?