Monday, March 30, 2009

Party's Still Bumpin

Back to back weeks of 77 miles, to me, have felt like weeks of 200 miles. Over the course of 12 days (Wed 3/18-Sun 3/29) I have run 147 miles. Until this year, I would have accepted that as a good month. This was 12 days. Needless to say, to unaccustomed legs, this was hard. I haven't ran this much since 2000 when I was only running. I even had stretches of 90 miles over 7 days, which was most certainly the most I've ever done in a week's time, and it was all in single runs. I remember running 85 miles in 6 days back in 2000, with 2-3 of the days doing a morning run.

The first week of 77 culminated with the 21 mile long run in DC followed by an easy 15 miles at Patapsco on Sunday. I was pretty tired at that point, but wanted to make this past week voluptuous. That's right, I said voluptuous. OJ had big plans last week to average 50 miles on the bike, 8 miles running and 5000m in the pool for the week. I wanted to latch on for as much as I could handle, but knowing how much I was really trying to run, I knew I wouldn't be able to do it all.

The statistics for the week show the following:

Swim: 8000m
Bike: 150 miles
Run: 77 miles

Weekly total was about 23.5 hours, and it is pretty balanced. Definitely the most miles I've ever run alongside any amount of bike/swim mileage.

The highlight of the week was the 22 mile long run on Sunday with Ben, Kris, Arjun and Zero. Ben has been following the Jack Daniels' formula for running things fast. As evidenced by his 1:10:36 last weekend in the half, it's working quite well. Arjun and Brennan have also been following the leader, like little Ass-Man shadows. It has similarly paid off for them. Further evidence that if you don't have a plan, GET ONE!

I scooped up the crew and we discovered that me, Ben and Arjun were all wearing the same shirt. Awesome. We had to have looked like idiots all strung out along the roads. The workout was a tough one, definitely the hardest I've ever done in my life. Asides from the marathon, this was the longest run I've ever done, and it took place on unforgiving, undulating roads, and mixed in close to 8 miles of tempo running.

After a 2ish mile warmup, we got into our set of 4x5:30 w/:60 rest. These were hard. Lots of long uphills. It was during this session that Arjun and I discovered we can't do a race like Boston anywhere near each other. Two completely different styles of running.

Tempo over, we retreated into our 10 miles easy. Which really wasn't even that easy, because we were either going UP, or down an equally long, punishing downhill. I felt great on the ups, but my body does not like downhill running. Might be a problem for a race like Boston. After a quick water stop at the gas station on Bellona, we made our way up that climb and then descended into Robert E. Lee Park. This is where I started to have some problems - namely a stitch underneath my rib cage. It was painful and run-limiting.

Stopped again at the Royal Farms on Falls Road, and after some Gatorade I felt a little better. NUTRITION. Gotta do a better job at that on a long, hard run like that. We then had to climb out of Mt. Washington, which is a long, long way, and Ben had increased the tempo a bit. As this served as our re-warmup into the second set of 4x5:30, I was pretty tired by the time we started those. And the way back is a little more downhill than up, so I struggled. It was the same part of the run where Ben and Brennan toasted me the last time we ran that way home.

2 of the tempo sections were on the road, and the last 2 were within the confines of the dreaded Druid Hills. I was moving, but not very fast, and it was all I could do to keep going. After a short cooldown, we were at or over 22 miles and I was wiped. We spent the rest of the day - which had become unexpectedly nice - people watching at Chipotle in the Harbor and watching some of the Elite 8 game at the ESPNZone.

Not that I've been training in the same way as the other guys for Boston, but this was my last big workout before the race. And even though I would have liked to have gotten in a little more on the bike and in the pool last week, I listened to my body and when it was tired, I tried to give it a little break. Now is the crucial time - recovery. I've got to recover well this week, as Sunday is the Cherry Blossom 10 miler.

It's a good opportunity to run fast, but more importantly I'm hoping it can give me some indication of a manageable pace at Boston in 3 weeks from today. At this point in the season I still train through races, because I have a few months until the important ones. Last year at Broad Street I ran 58:12. I'm shooting for 57:30 this weekend.

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