Much running, not much else

What I did

The good news this week is that I got all three of my planned runs in, and they went pretty well. I'll start with that, but down below I cover the not-quite-so-good parts of the week.

I really am an Eagle Scout, but it doesn't always show

My run on Tuesday was supposed to be 8 miles, but my day was kind of busy and I didn't think I had time to do the full distance. I was looking for something a little different and mapped out a (supposedly) 6-mile route through Umstead Park, part of it on gravel roads and about 2 miles on a single-track hiking road through the forest.

Once I got started on the Loblolly Trail things started off better than the last time I tried trail running. The trail was well marked, reasonably free of rocks, and while there were sections with tangles of roots it was pretty good footing. It starts off with a long down-hill to the creek down below, where I ran into the first surprise - getting across said creek involved either a long jump I wasn't going to make, or a wade through ankle-deep water. Fortunately it wasn't excessively cold.

As I continued up the other side (going up hill is apparently harder than going down) I began to lose track of the general direction I was heading, and before too much longer began to wonder if I was lost. I was clearly on some marked trail, as there were very visible blue blaze markings on the trees, but I didn't know if I'd accidentally taken a fork I shouldn't have. I thought of looking at my phone to see exactly where I was, but realized I didn't have it one me. So, wondering if they were going to have to send out a search party for somebody who was within earshot of a major interstate, I kept slogging along. Fortunately, another 5 minutes or so and I popped out exactly where I meant to and finished the run. It turned out to be 7 miles, and the trail portion was much slower, so my goal of saving some time was something of a lost cause.

The squiggly part between miles 3 and 4 was where I started to worry

Thursday's quicker run

Thursday I was supposed to do 6 miles at a faster pace, and after the previous run I decided to stick with the familiar 6-mile course that is mostly downhill for the first 4 and entirely uphill for the last 2. I made the 6 miles at a pretty decent 10:25/mile pace, although I did get a twinge in my right calf about a half mile from the end that caused me to walk a little to be sure it was OK.

Saturday's long run - 16 miles

So, today was the next long run, and they seem to keep getting longer; fortunately next week is a recovery week, so I'm to do "only" 6 miles next Saturday. I'm not at all used to running these long distances; prior to this marathon training I think my longest runs were generally no more than 7 miles. I regularly do long bike rides, but somehow the prospect of being 8 miles from home when I realize I'm not going to be able to run back didn't sound too good. Last week was sort of a multi-headed Hydra course that kept me within 5 miles of the house, but given that it was a tough run I thought I'd try something different. So, I ended up doing the same 8-mile loop twice, which was a bit challenging when it came time to turn around just 1/2 mile from the house just so I could do it all over again.

 The two side-spurs are very hilly, rest is not too bad

We had more cool weather today, which is always good. I did my usual Gypsy Rose Lee routine, slowly shedding articles of clothing as I warmed up. The gloves only made it to Mile 2, the arm-warmers under my pullover go to mile 5, and the hat came off at mile 7, which let me drop all that stuff off near the house before starting the next loop.

The run ended up being somewhat better than last week. I made it to the 14-mile mark in fairly good shape, but from that point on I found myself walking a second minute during the rest breaks whenever I was on an up-hill section. I could tell I was getting to my limit of endurance as my heart rate kept edging upwards, not recovering as much during each walk as before. Still, this is a lot farther than I expected to be able to run, so I'm happy with the progress so far.

Swimming on Monday

While I'm focused on the marathon training at the moment, my training plan still includes some amount of swim and cycle training to keep me ready for triathlon season. I did a full swim on Monday, getting in 2,500 yards at a fairly sedate 2:15/100yd pace. I did a simple pyramid scheme, starting off with a 100yd set, then 200, 300, 400, 500, and then back down the same way to 100 for the last set.

What I did not do

For those of you keeping score at home, you'll see that I did 4 workouts this week. However, the schedule calls for 8 workouts, so I'm currently scoring an F for effort. Tuesday was supposed to also feature a strength session with weights, Wednesday I did exactly bupkis, compared to a planned early morning swim and lunch bike ride, and Friday was a "rest day", which meant that I was able to convince myself that I had a lot of work to do and that it was cold out, so I should really save my strength.

While I'm consciously trying to make sure I don't skip any runs now that the marathon is about 7 weeks away, I clearly need to do at least some of the other ones as well, so I'll be making a better effort for next week.